1. Know who you’re dealing with. Confirm
the online seller’s physical address and/or
phone number so you can contact them if you
have questions or problems. If you’ve never
heard of the seller, check its reputation
with the Better Business Bureau or the state
attorney general where the company is
located, or one of a number of consumer
2. Know exactly what you’re buying. Read
the seller’s description of the product
closely, especially the fine print. Words
like "vintage," "refurbished," "close out,"
"discontinued" or "off-brand" may indicate
that a product is in less-than-mint
condition. Some name-brand items with "too
good to be true" prices may even be
3. Comparison-shop. Check out Websites
that offer price comparisons on similar
items from different manufacturers or
different Websites. Some price comparison
sites favor their advertisers’ products, so
it’s a good idea to look at more than one.
And remember to compare "apples to apples."
what personal information they are
collecting, why, and how it’s going to be
5. Pay with a credit card. It offers you
the most protection as a consumer. Don’t
6. Use a secure browser. Look for an
unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of
your Web browser window to ensure that your
transmission is protected. Buy only from Web
vendors that protect your financial
7. Consider shipping and handling costs.
Factor these into the cost of the order and
choose the delivery option that best meets
your needs and budget.
8. Print records of your online
transactions. Save the product description
and price, the online receipt and copies of
every e-mail you send or receive from the
9. Understand the return policy before
you buy. Can you return the item for a full
refund if you’re not satisfied with it? If
you return it, are you required to pay
shipping costs or a restocking fee?
10. Check delivery dates. An FTC rule
requires sellers to ship items when they say
they will or within 30 days after the order
date, when no specific date is promised.
If the vendor can’t ship the goods within
the promised or 30-day deadline, it must
notify you, give you a chance to cancel your
order and provide a full refund if you’ve
chosen to cancel.
If you feel you’ve been misled or deceived, file
a complaint online at www.ftc.gov
Provided by the North American Precis Syndicate.