Tips for safe shopping
- Look at several sites to check prices and be aware of any hidden costs, e.g. VAT, delivery.
- Shop with well-known companies or following recommendations.
- Research the company if you haven't heard of it before, look in papers and magazines.
- Know who you're dealing with - if in doubt look up firms' address and phone number and call to double check details.
- Have a geographical address, be wary of just a PO Box No.
- Find out refund and return policies before you place an order.
- Check how long delivery will take. If the supplier is made aware of a vital delivery deadline, failure means you can cancel the order and have a possible claim for compensation.
- Phone the company if there's anything you're unsure of.
- Be very careful of company policies if purchasing from overseas. You are not necessarily protected under UK law and it can be very difficult to pursue a dispute.
- Buy with a credit card - it gives more security than a debit card as the credit card issuer is also liable for misrepresentation and breach of contract, so if goods aren't delivered you can pursue a claim with your credit card company.
- Check credit cards details if buying from overseas - check foreign currency.
- Keep records of all ads, confirmation e-mails etc.
The Law states goods must be:
- as described on the web site. According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) descriptions must be "legal, decent, honest and truthful".
- of satisfactory quality, free from defects.
- fit for their purposes.