Unless you enjoy the bustle of traditional holiday shopping, you’re probably thankful for being able to get what you need online. Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission has gotten reports from consumers who didn’t get their orders as expected — or never got them at all.
Here are tips to have a good online shopping experience:
- Spot and avoid scams. Before you buy, confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number. Search the seller’s name with the word “scam” to see if other buyers have had problems.
- Look carefully at the shipping date before you order. If there’s no date given, the seller has 30 days to ship. If you’re notified about a delay in shipping, you have the right to cancel the order and get a full refund. If you decide to cancel, let the seller know right away so you won’t be billed. If the seller doesn’t respond or refuses the refund, immediately report that to the company that issued the card you used to pay for it, or the bank on which your check was written.
- If possible, pay with a credit card. If you pay by credit card, your transaction is protected by law. That means you can often dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment pending an investigation.
- Track and safeguard your delivery. Get tracking numbers to see where your stuff is in the shipping process. Also, consider having your items held at the post office or delivered to a family member or neighbor in case you’re not home. Some companies have their own secure locations where you can have your merchandise delivered. This protects you from having some Grinch steal your holiday right from your doorstep.
Get more details about online shopping at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0020-shopping-online#details.
And report any scams you come across to the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
- By Lisa Lake, a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission