I have often been let down by internet scams that have promised incredible amounts of saving. I've had to chase online retailers for deliveries, returns and wrong items delivered. I learnt from my mistakes and have finally put down a list of 'things I need to check before putting in my credit card details online'
1. Security :
A quick glance on the address bar before checking out of a website can tell you .....about the website. Check if the http:// on the payment page has changed to an 'HTTPS', the 's' here denotes security. Give your credit card details only after the 's' check. Read more about it here.
I like websites where you can choose the delivery timing. In my experience, I have found that websites that offer delivery in 4-6 weeks are the most difficult to deal with in case of any issues. Look for websites that offer you to choose a window for delivery as per your convenience. So, if you work on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, the delivery can be scheduled between 11am and 2 pm on a Saturday. This gives you the flexibility to plan your day better and now worry about the much awaited 'dress' getting stuck with the courier company.
3. Returns and Refunds: Returns in case of online shopping may not be straightforward at all. Read the policy carefully. In my experience nine out of ten times, the online retailer will expect you to pay for the return in case of a change in size, color etc. This can turn out to be a costly affair and you may end up loosing money. I always prefer buying from e-tailers who send postage paid return envelops/ stickers with the delivery. I hate ozsale for this!
4. Beware of the Scams: I have very often come across posts on Facebook that promise Apple IPADs or UGG shoes in return for a 'like' or a 'comment'. Cross your heart to stay away from these. The website in most cases will be fake and you may even unknowingly lead them to start virus attack on your computer. Its a cliche but no harm in repeating - If its too good to be true, it probably is!
5. Shipping costs: I have come across scams online where the shopper can easily get mugged by the shipping costs. These days a lot of flash sale websites need you to empty the cart before you can shop further. Picture this - You pick a T-shirt with a shipping cost of $9.95, and proceed to buy a pair of jeans, the website will prompt you to first checkout and pay for the t-shirt before you can buy the jeans. So you end up paying $9.95 + $9.95 for a jeans and a t-shirt. Remember that the shipping costs are dependent on the weight and not the quantity!
6. Coupons expiry: Coupon websites are another amazing way to save money both online and in-store. Most coupon deal websites will have a printable coupon along with email options. Make sure that you check the expiry date of the coupon. A notable coupon website, Promocode4share goes a step ahead and even gives you a list of 'unreliable' coupons. Also check if there is an option to report an invalid coupon and leave a review.