The volume of Internet-based sales is increasing every year. It can be a very easy and cost effective way to purchase things, but there can be some pitfalls. How safe is it to buy on the web and what can you do to protect yourself?
It is interesting to note that people fall into one of two categories. Either you never buy anything on the Internet because you don’t trust it, or you often buy on the web and give your credit card number out to any retailer. Just like anything else, buying on the web can be safe as long as you do some homework. In fact, it is actually much safer to buy on the Internet with a secure server than to give your credit card to a waiter of call an order in over the phone. The bottom line is to do some research before you buy.
Here are some tips if you buy on the web:
Know whom you are dealing with. You can usually feel pretty confident dealing with nationally known brands or retailers. However, just because they are small doesn’t make them bad. You can check out a business at www.bbbonline.org, to see if they conform to the online business ethics of the BBB.
Insist on secure transactions. This is the most important. Make sure the company uses a secure server (a small padlock icon will appear in your bottom toolbar when you are using a secure server) and offers secure ordering through Verisign. Check the e-mail confirmation the retailer sends you to make sure the order was right. And finally, you should use a credit card rather than a debit card since credit cards limit your liability.
Read the terms and conditions. Sometimes a retailer’s policies regarding returns, shipping, etc. are different than for items purchased at a store.
Check out what others say. You can check out message boards and ask other people. Good old word of mouth still works.
If you have questions on this or any other financial matter please give CCCS a call at 937-643-2227.