Keep Safe When Shopping Online
It is now so easy to make purchases any time and anywhere, using your smartphone or ipad, that it is all too easy to forget the risks.
Be careful which websites you use - It is of course important to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate trader and you should always be careful when you give your credit or debit card details over the Internet. Find out whether the company has a secure site, and look for information about the protection the trader has put in place. Useful indicators that sites are legitimate and secure can include:
• A closed padlock sign in the browser frame (to the right of the address bar) - clicking this will give security information for the site.
• The web address appearing as a “https” site - the “S” meaning that there is a secure connection using encryption
• Always use the latest version of your browser. The address bar or name of the site owner should appear green – this indicates that an Extended Validation Certificate is in place, which means that checks have been made to ensure that the site is run by the organisation it claims to be.
The method of payment you use can offer different benefits and protection if things go wrong. This applies to all shopping, but can be particularly important when shopping online:-
Payments using credit card – for payments over £100 (for a single item excluding postage) but less than £30,000, you can make a claim to your credit card provider. The card provider has equal liability with the trader if something goes wrong. You should contact your credit card provider direct (not Visa or Mastercard or Amex) and ask for a claim form, stating on the form that you are making a claim under “Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act”. If the payment by credit card was under £100, you may wish to try claiming under the “Chargeback” system as mentioned below.
Payment using debit card – Visa and Mastercard will both consider claims for refunds under their “Chargeback” system – however there is not a legal requirement for them to do so. You should refer the matter to your bank and state that you wish to make a claim under the “Chargeback” system, explaining the reason for any breach of contract, for example goods not arriving. There is no minimum or maximum limit to the amount which can be claimed using the “Chargeback” system.
Payments via PayPal – Paypal can be useful as it means card details are not provided direct to the trader. However, you should realise that if things go wrong, you're unlikely to be covered when payments are made via a company (e.g. PayPal) that is not the one providing you with the product. In these cases, your card provider won’t have a direct relationship with the trader, so neither of the options above will be likely to apply.
Be careful with unexpected and unsolicited emails - be very cautious of any unsolicited e-mails claiming to be from retailers or companies, even those which may be known to you, asking you to click on a link. If you have any doubts you should log in to the site using the known website address.
Shop local – Don’t forget the big advantages of shopping locally, being able to see the goods you are buying and being able to resolve any issues face-to-face with the retailer.
Further advice and information can be sought from the Office of Fair Trading on 686500.