‘Tis the season to be shopping online

On: 6 December 2016

Online spending could replace physical shopping at Christmas time for some consumers, but Consumer Protection reminds those who enjoy the task of typing rather than swiping to consider the risks.

“Shopping from the comfort of your home is a definite plus, but there are risks involved that everyone should consider,” says MBIE Consumer Protection Manager Mark Hollingsworth.

“It’s hard to assess the quality of products without physically seeing them and it’s harder again to judge the trustworthiness of a business just by visiting their website.

“Do your homework on the online business you’re buying from - Google for online reviews and ask around to see if anyone else has bought from the online trader.

“Common issues include the goods not being delivered or being delivered well outside the predicted timeframe. Be wary of the seller sending you products that are of a lesser value or differ from their description.

“If you’re buying goods from overseas, keep an eye on the exchange rates and delivery costs. These can fluctuate depending on the country, making products more expensive than you expect.

“Shopping online can be a very handy way to purchase gifts this Christmas, but know the risks and do your homework. Is the brand well known and reliable? Does the company website provide contact details and offer a secure payment system? Check their return policies, and terms and conditions to make sure you’re happy with them.

“Get familiar with what’s on offer before you shop online this Christmas,” says Mr Hollingsworth.

Everything you need to know before you buy online this Christmas, including tips to protect yourself and your personal information, is detailed on the Consumer Protection shopping online page.

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