Barely four days to Christmas and I still have to complete my shopping list. My alternative to avoiding the big crowd (who most probably are great procrastinators like me) is to shop online.
I have been doing most of my shopping online for five years now. However, this was limited to some beauty stuff like mineral makeup and brushes, lippies, books and rare toys from E-bay,Amazon, Multiply and even Facebook.
For someone who embraced the blogoshpere so wholeheartedly, I, ironically, still have to shop for tech gadgets and clothing. Part of it is that I am kind of worried (what if the item is defective?) and part of it is that I am scared to give my credit card information online.
I have heard a lot of stories about being scammed online. I haven’t been part of the statistic, although I have to admit I have bravely purchased items locally by just texting the seller, sending the payment to the seller’s bank account, confirming that payment has been made and asking when item will be shipped and getting the delivery tracking number, and hoping that the item will reach me.
Online shopping may be very convenient (you don’t have to go through long lines and endure the perfume reeking off the person in front of you), plus you get to buy stuff you probably can’t find from local stores (like the Lego Star Wars that I got for my little boy although he claims he wants the Batman Lego now), but it sure is risky. If you haven’t considered the convenience of shopping online yet, the following online shopping tips for the first-timer may help:
Check on the seller’s positive feedback.
I have done my share of serious shopping on E-bay, especially for hard-to-find items like rare toys and maybe some beauty stuff which is way much cheaper than in department stores. However, I did remember purchasing some lip plumper stuff sealed but half-full! I chunked it out, and I had terrible visions of how the seller must have probably used it and decided to sell it when she didn’t like it. Even if it was sealed. I wrote the seller, of course, who swore stuff must have leaked out and offered a replacement. I did have to write a negative feedback as a reminder for her to check on stuff she is selling and to check on her packaging before she ships her stuff.
My lesson was don’t even try to buy anything from a site, even if the item is so rare and you want it so bad, if there are negative reviews and complaints of identity theft.
Make Sure the Web Site is Secure.
Always look for the site’s privacy and security policies. As I have told you earlier, I have done some online shopping by relying on trust (sending money by just texting the seller and wishing that the item would be shipped). I won’t ever advise you to do this. Always make sure that the site has an online store software which offers secure, protected,reliable and dependable online shopping. Shopping at a site which has a system that makes sure you are secure, plus queries are answered immediately and items are shipped immediately makes online shopping an absolute joy.
Since you would be entering payment details upon your virtual cart checkout, always look out for the padlock icon on your URL bar. This icon is a sign that the page you are viewing is secure. The webpage address will also include “https” at the beginning, instead of “http”(S is for secure).
Avoid Saving Your Credit Card Information.
A lot of times, we tend to check the auto-save box when we are asked to save credit card details. Don’t even attempt it. It is better to be safe than sorry. Your credit card information may be compromised, especially if you share your computer with other people.
I have once been billed by I-Tunes for an application I didn’t even buy! Fortunately, my bank texted me “thanking” me “for a purchase I did online at I-Tunes”. I called the bank IMMEDIATELY. The bank cancelled the transaction and sent me a new credit card with a totally different number within a day.
Save Your Online Receipt.
I always save my online receipts. This would be very helpful when following up on your purchases, especially if you have complaints. Always compare the amount charged on your credit card with your receipt. If there is a discrepancy on the figure, dispute it immediately.
I admit I still have to embrace fully the thought of doing all my online shopping online. I love the thrill of walking in stores with your best buddy and picking up items you didn’t intend to purchase in the first place and regretting buying them later with your best shopping buddy (tip: don’t even think of bringing your husband with you when you go shopping). If you do your online shopping, what other tips for the first timer can you share?