Protecting yourself while shopping online

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There are still a large number of people that are simply afraid to shop on the Internet which worries me somewhat as my livelihood is completely reliant on people feeling comfortable using their credit card details to order online.Not only is online shopping one of the most secure ways to shop but there are also a number of avenues available to protect you online and minimise the risk presented.

Legislation

There are three pieces of relevant legislation that will protect you when shopping online.

The Distance Selling Regulations which allow you send goods back for ANY reason whatsoever within seven working days of delivery.You do have to pay for the return of the goods though.

The Sale Of Goods Act which allows you to obtain a full refund if the goods are not ‘fit for purpose’

Finally, the Consumer Credit Act which means that if a retailer refuses to refund you then your credit card company may refund you then recover the money through the retailers’ bankers.

Trading Standards

If you were to have a problem then Consumer Direct would be a better first point of call than Trading Standards.They can be contacted by phoning 08454 040506 or visiting www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.They will be able to advise you on appropriate legislation, provide you with sample letter templates to send to the retailer, collect complaints against a retailer and not only advise you on how to proceed but in some instances they may take the complaint up directly.

County Court

If all else fails you will may be able to use the small claims procedure.For advice you should contact the Torquay and Newton Abbot small claims court on 01803 616791 and it’s worthwhile noting that you won’t have to employ a solicitor.

If you are having problems with a retailer than when employing any of the above methods it would be worthwhile keeping the following records:

(a) Keep a diary of exactly what happens and when.

(b) Keep details of the agreed product specification, the order, emails, faxes, letters and phone conversations.

(c) Send all important letters by Recorded Delivery and consider taping any important phone conversations.

At the end of the day it’s worthwhile noting that 99.9% of all Internet retailers are reputable and it is very unlikely that you will ever have a problem at all.Any problems that are encountered are usually easily solved in a friendly manner and it is unlikely that you will ever have to employ any of the methods detailed above.

An ongoing concern is that of security but in all reality this isn’t something that you should really worry about.Modern websites employee a high degree of encryption which is extremely difficult to hack in to and even should your details be compromised online you would be protected by your card company.Many retailers now days don’t even get to see the card details that you enter in online – for example, at Refresh Cartridges when we take an order online all we get is an authorisation code as the transaction is conducted directly with the bank.

I’m always amazed how some people are happy to give their card away at a restaurant for a waiter to take out the back, out of sight but at the same time seem reluctant to use their card online with some of the Internets biggest retailers.I think it’s time to get some perspective as to how safe Internet shopping is especially when compared to more established and less secure payments which we conduct locally in our day to day lives.

 

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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