Smart Consumer: Five things you need to know to shop safely online
Published 02/09/2010 | 05:00
The results of a European Commission 'sweep' of websites selling electronics, released last year, showed that only 45% complied with EU laws. That percentage is far too low and is not acceptable.
The best thing you can do is not to encourage rogue traders by providing them with your business. If you have any doubts about who you're about to buy from, then simply shop elsewhere.
1. Shop on familiar or recommended sites and make sure you have the name and full contact details, including postal address, of the web trader so you know who you are dealing with. If the only way you can contact them is via an online form, that isn't good enough.
2. Do a web search of the business and if there is any negative chat about them online, you'll soon find it.
3. Make sure the site has full details on delivery, payment options and security, price and product description.
4. Check when the site was registered on www.whois.com. Fraudulent sites come and go very quickly and are often recently registered but may claim to have been around a while.
5. Don't pay by bank or money transfer, and if the website doesn't offer any safer options, don't trust them with your money.