Of course it pays to be careful and do your research before committing to an online purchase. Use a search engine (such as Google) to find other shops and compare prices and conditions. With a little care and research, shopping on the internet can be a rewarding experience with big cash savings to be made by the canny buyer. For kitchen appliances, a good place to start for Kiwi home improvement shoppers is Great Deals Direct. There is also Priceme, which is a web site where you can compare prices of a whole range of goods.
Below are some guidelines to keep you safe whilst shopping online.
- Make comparisons with your local retail stores, but remember to take into account any extra costs such as delivery, that you may incur.
- Phone or e-mail retailers directly and ask about the goods and services they provide when dealing with them for the first time.
- Check the freight or delivery method and costs.
- Check the legality of importing particular goods from overseas.
- Monitor children's access, as some firms market directly to children.
- Be wary of offers that appear too good to be true.
- Deal with online retailers who are evasive and won't give contact numbers or addresses.
- Forget to print out your order before you send it.
- Participate in pyramid selling schemes (sometimes under the guise of network marketing, chain letters, get rich quick schemes and home based employment opportunities) - they are illegal.
- Rely only on one source of information.
give your bank details to any overseas business.
Buying on Auction Sites
For many people, buying on sites like Trade Me is Internet shopping. However, you do have to keep your wits about you. Auction sitres makes it all too easy for fly-by-night traders to sell goods from the ‘back of a container’ and disappear overnight. Even if they offer a guarantee, how will you find them when things go wrong.
- Check that the Trader is an established business.
- Make sure that they have a track record of some years.
- Google their auction trading name.
- Some auction sites don’t forbid a trader from giving their contact details so ask them.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Paying for the goods
Many Internet businesses allow you to use your credit card on-line to pay for products. Many allow you to pay by Internet banking or direct credit. Some allow you to post a cheque or money order. As with any payment method, try to ensure that the business you are dealing with is reputable. The advantage of using credit cards is that some credit card companies reserve the right to reverse transactions if there is a disputed charge.
Only use your credit card for payment on-line if the retailer uses a secure payment system. Look out for a security certificate on the site. Also check that the payment site is a secure one. A secure site can be recognised by the ‘Https’ in the address bar of your browser (as opposed to ‘Http’, which is not secure).
If things go wrong
If the business is in New Zealand, try and negotiate with the retailer by Email, telephone or letter and remember to keep copies of your order, invoices and correspondence. The laws of New Zealand that apply to over-the-counter sales also apply to internet sales.
Good luck if you bought carelessly on an auction site though!
Remember - Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).