Do you ever worry about things such as identity theft or phishing? You’re not alone. As an experienced online shopper, these concerns were once mine too. However, I have learned to shop a lot more safely now. Here are useful tips you can apply to your own online shopping experiences.
“My shoes didn’t fit and I want to return them.”
One of the major concerns of people shopping online is not receiving the items that they bought, or getting something different than what they had actually bought from an online store. I don’t blame them, it would naturally irk even the most patient customer. Yet there is a way to avoid this problem.
If this happened to you, then you should read the online store’s return policy so you can promptly act on your purchase. In fact, it would be a lot smarter to first check on the return and exchange policies before even buying anything. There are online stores that are excellent in providing great service to customers who are dissatisfied with their purchase. For example, when I bought dress shoes from Zappos that are way too small than I expected, Zappos allowed me to return the shoes with free shipping.
A lot of online stores such as Flirt.com will require you to pay for the shipping when you need to return an item. When Flirt.com started selling two piece bikinis separately, I didn’t realize that the bikini I bought came only with the bottom. I had thought about returning the item, but they charged me for shipping. I had no choice but to buy the top and pay for separate shipping.
“Why am I getting so much spam in my email?”
Do you ever wonder how companies are able to reach you through your email sending you all kinds of product offers? You don’t remember signing up at Walmart for a diaper promo? Nobody wants spam but it seems marketers have so many ways to find us.
When we buy from online stores, we get a message from them saying that they don’t give away or sell our personal information. This may be true, but it doesn’t mean “behavioral marketers” can’t keep track of shoppers. Online stores, whether we like it or not, use “cookies” in order to track our buying process. These cookies are codes that run in our browsers as we shop online. When we visit the same store, the store usually remembers our personal information. For example, as a regular customer, Vistaprint knows my payment information so I don’t have to input my credit card number all the time. My Amazon.com account saves my mother-in-law’s shipping address so I don’t have to type it every time I send cookbooks to her.
Even though we can’t avoid cookies (most of the time, they make our life a lot easier), we can avoid spam emails. Don’t sign up on any website unless you really have to, even if they say they don’t give out personal information. If you still want to, you can create a separate email account just for this activity. You can use this email account simply for online shopping, so even if you get spam from online stores, you won’t get spam in your personal email account.
“I’m worried about identity theft.”
Identity theft, altogether, is a very sensitive and important issue when shopping online. Who wants to get their money stolen from credit card hackers? Identity theft, however, has been around even before the Internet was born. Any thief can go through the garbage and if he finds some personal information in some randomly thrown paper stack, he can use it to steal from someone’s credit card account.
When it comes to online shopping, credit cards are preferable to use than debit cards. This is because credit card purchases are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Unauthorized charges can be disputed with the account owner being responsible only for the first $50 in charges. However, when you suspect something wrong with your online transactions, it’s best to report this as soon as possible. The sooner you get it taken cared of, the more likely it will be resolved before the identity thief even has the time to act.
I personally use Paypal for my online shopping transactions. Paypal lets you buy online without having to divulge credit card information to every online store you purchase from. As soon as you sign up for a Paypal account, it will handle the billing process for you. Paypal also has buyer protection program against fraud on qualified eBay transactions.
Do you have worries about shopping online? I appreciate your sharing it here and commenting on this article!