Top Tips for Safe Shopping Online this Christmas is all about empowering the consumer with information so that they can buy online with confidence. Here are top 10 ways to stay safe when shopping online this Christmas:

1.  Always use a Credit Card

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 says that, if something goes wrong, the credit card company is “jointly and severally” liable with the retailer. This applies equally to overseas companies.  Eftpos and debit cards generally do not offer internet protection.

2. Check Warranties and Internet Protection

Contact your credit card company to find out about any extended warranties and internet guarantees that they offer. Make sure you follow their guidelines and then you can be assured that you’re protected if anything goes wrong.

3.  Payment Gateways are not always best

It’s a misconception that using a payment gateway such as PayPal means you’re protected. Whilst they offer their own dispute system,  the credit card transaction is between you, the consumer, and PayPal and not with the retailer directly,  therefore your usual credit card protection does not apply.

4. Register your Cards

You can register your cards with ‘Verified by Visa’ or ‘Mastercard Secure Code’ to give you additional security. This requires password identification before a transaction can be processed.

5. Secure Payment Online

Make sure that the website you’re using is able to take your payment securely. You can check this by looking for the padlock icon which usually appears at the bottom of the screen. You can also check that the Web prefix changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’ where the ‘s’ stands for secure.

6.  Protect your Computer

You can protect your computer by installing antivirus software. There are now some great free options available (just search on Google). Upgrade to the latest operating system and web browser. As additional security, you can add a personal firewall. When you have finished online shopping, remember to log out. This is particularly important if you are using a shared computer.

7. Check Who You are Buying From

Read the store reviews and ratings, check the geographical address, check for a landline phone number, look at the Terms & Conditions relating to payment, delivery and cancellation. Find out about the returns policy, and who pays for the return – you or the retailer?

8. Proof of Purchase

Just like when shopping in the high street,  make sure that you keep a record of your purchase by way of receipts or email confirmation of your order etc.  Don’t delete it!

9. Price

Research price to ensure that you are getting a Christmas deal that you’re happy with. The cheapest doesn’t always mean the best. Check to see if the product is brand new. Be aware of refurbished or second-hand products, these can be great buys,  as long as you are aware of what you are buying.

10. Delivery Dates for Christmas

Make sure that you know the last order date to ensure delivery before Christmas. There is nothing worse than leaving it to the last minute,  only to find out that your gifts don’t arrive until after Christmas Day!

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