An increasing number of us are choosing to do our shopping online rather than heading to the high street – but while Internet shopping can be more convenient it does have its pitfalls as well. Here’s how to avoid getting stung.
Shop in advance: While the most high-profile online stores tend to have quick turnaround times, you shouldn’t absolutely assume that your package will arrive on the stated date. Bear in mind, too, that small-scale photos don’t always accurately portray a product – and particularly if you’re shopping for clothes, you may have to return your purchase. This makes it extra important to buy in advance, particularly if you’re preparing for a big event.
Pick up a bargain: One of the real advantages of online shopping is that you have access to deals not available on the high street. If you’re looking for a specific item then use price comparison sites to find the cheapest offers – eBay is a good place to start. Online shops have sales at similar times to the high street, so for fashion purchases aim to do your big shops in January and in August. There are some great deals available at the moment with stores like Coast on summer styles such as sandals and dresses online.
Use reputable sites: One of the pitfalls to beware of when shopping online is fake goods. Many of the major designer brands are dogged by counterfeiting, and counterfeit goods tend to be poor quality as well as being illegal. If you’re looking for a particular designer then only use official retailers as designated on their website.
Stay secure: Security used to be a major concern for online shoppers, and while the payment process is now far safer and more secure it’s still important to be aware. Make sure you shop only on secure sites – you can tell whether a site is secure by looking for a small padlock icon in the top right corner of your browser’s URL bar. For extra protection, always use a credit or pre-paid card rather than a debit card for online shopping as it doesn’t link directly to your bank account.