This year, most of my gift shopping for Christmas are ordered online. It’s more convenient, faster and gives me a wider selection of items. It saves me time from driving around the metro, beating the traffic and looking for parking spaces in crowded malls.
However, many people are not yet comfortable though because of the risks of being scammed. Here are some tips you need to take note the next time you considering doing some last-minute online shopping.
1) Use only the trusted sites. There are a lot of local and international shopping sites around, with some more familiar than others. If you’re new to online shopping, best to just stick with the more trusted ones at first. They’re the ones that are most likely to be the longest running and have the most number of customers. You can ask some friends and relatives that have some experience to refer you to the more common sites to shop. Most people that are scammed are the ones that shop from very new or unheard of sites.
2) Check for review. If an online store has a lot of repeat or satisfied customers, you will surely see this from customer reviews posted on forums, blogs, and other sites. The ones that have tried the online store should be able to give you an idea how good or bad the customer service is, or if the merchant is responsive to inquiries. No single online store will have all positive reviews so best to check out several sources or blogs to get a better picture of the merchant.
3) Use a safer payment method. Online shops will normally offer different payment methods. This ranges from bank deposits, mobile wallet payments, cash remittances, credit cards and COD. The safest option would be cash-on-delivery (COD) since you only pay once you receive the shipped items. You can even reject the delivery if you didn’t like it after inspection. The second safest would be using credit cards since you have the option of calling your credit card provider and reverse the charges if the merchant is uncooperative of your complaints.
4) Don’t forget to use discount coupons or vouchers when you check out. If you’re a first-time online shopper, some store or merchants would offer discount coupons or vouchers the minute you register on their website. Take advantage of this. You can also look around for voucher codes that might have been shared on the shop’s social media account recently. Who knows — you might get an instant 10% off on all your first purchases on the store.
5) Check the fine print. Some merchants might have some unspecified warranty options, return or refund policies that are written in very fine print. Be mindful of this, especially for warranties that involve high-ticket items. You’ll have to know where you need to return the item in case you wanted it repaired later on. Others don’t offer a refund so you might be stuck with store credits when you return a defective product and there’s no available replacement unit. I’ve heard of these kinds of stories before and it can be a pain in the neck.
Do let us know if you have other tips and experiences in shopping online.
Happy Christmas shopping!