We are officially in the throws of holiday shopping. Many people will actually shop on-line more this year than actually frequent the stores! I mean – why not? You can get the the same deals, many times free shipping, avoid the lines and get to do it all in your pajamas! What’s not to love!? If you do shop on-line there are some things you need to do to protect yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Make sure your site submits data safely. You can ensure that this is on your site by looking for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) image at the bottom of your page or that when you make your purchase that you are on a secure site (shttp: in the web address). The reason that it is important is that this ensures that your personal and credit card data securely to the vendor. SSL actually uses two keys to encrypt your data whereas SHTTP creates a secure transaction between the client’s server and you. If you do not see these or if you see there is a problem with the sites certificate, I’d recommend you NOT key in any important data and use another site to make your purchase.
Know the shipping prices and return policies of the site. Will you have to pay to return the item due to damage or incorrect sizing? Do you have a limited length of time to make the return? Make sure to locate and print this should you have any issues.
If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. We’ve all seen these sites offering the season’s must have toy at 1/2 the price as everyone else. Chances are that this is a scam and you should avoid their site. One example is Pillow Pets. These are around $20 everywhere – if you find the ORIGINAL versions for too much less than that, I’d tend to stay clear of them.
Stick with those you know. Sometimes, the price might be a few dollars more, but shopping through a site you know and trust can is worth added peace of mind.
Watch for extra clicks/offers. When you get ready to checkout, pay close attention to additional clicks or offers that might come up. You certainly don’t want to sign up for anything you don’t really want. Getting out of those offers can be tricky and time consuming.
Print or Save your order confirmation. Make sure that when you get to the final order page that you print it out for your records. I actually save paper and ink by selecting and copying the entire page and pasting it into a word document. This provides me with the information I need, should I have to follow up or need to contact them for any information – plus saves me on ink and paper.
Take a few extra steps before you shop on-line can certainly save you much time and headache in the long run. Oh – I did forget to mention this – make sure to do you finger stretches before you shop! You’d hate to get a pinkie cramp!