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Be On Guard When Holiday Shopping

Dec 5, 2007
Doing your holiday shopping on the net saves you money, time and effort. It is of utmost importance that online shoppers think before clicking and take the necessary precautionary measures to as much as possible avoid or if not minimize the occurrences of online mishaps.

Just about anybody can set up an online store so it is essential that when you are shopping on the internet you know and are aware of who you are dealing with. It is best to always confirm the physical address of the online seller and to contact them with their provided phone numbers.

When looking at products, closely read the description and be aware if it is described as "vintage," "refurbished," and other terms that may indicate the true product's condition. Branded items with prices that are unbelievable may be knockoffs so better be careful.

When calculating and comparing costs, compare products not only based on the prices but include in your comparison shipping and handling costs to get the entire picture and to be able to determine which will come close to your allowable budget.

Under any circumstances, never send cash as payment and instead opt to use your debit, charge or credit card. Paying by charge or credit card online protects you under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This law gives you the right to dispute charges made to your credit card (depending on the circumstances) and withholding payment temporarily until the creditor's investigation is finished. When your charge or credit card is used without your permission or without you even knowing it, you are not held liable for more than $50 per card.

Always know in advance refund and return policies, delivery dates and other necessary information. Is it possible for you to get a refund if you return the item or is exchange what is only allowed? Are shipping costs shouldered by you? Do you have to pay restocking fees? Check on the number of days you can expect to receive your order. If you are giving it as a present, ask for a gift receipt to be enclosed with the package to enable your recipient to have it exchanged just in case.

Save and print records of your online transactions. Keeping a paper trail is important to enable you to check against your credit card statement for any unauthorized charges.

Check as well on the company's privacy policy to be aware of the personal information they will be collecting from you and how they are going to use the information you have provided.
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