Buying Online Safely
A guide For the Smart Shopper

The Internet is an extremely convenient place to shop for things. Buying online is becoming a way of life and will only see increases in its popularity as time goes by.

Computer hackers have made it very risky to shop online, but armed with basic knowledge, buying online can be a pleasant experience.

It is also a good option for frugal shopping and the frugal lifestyle as online prices can be a lot cheaper than in the shops.

Many online retailers also waiver the postage if the value is over a certain amount, so it is always worth planning your shopping carefully to maximize the savings.

First, choose an online company that is trustworthy. Companies that have been doing business online for a long period of time should be your first choices.

Make sure they have a positive reputation and support their product(s).

Buying from small companies that are newcomers to the online shopping industry can result in a company that is not as customer centric or customer satisfaction oriented.

Be sure you check out the return policies of any company you buy from online. Most have differing policies from online to store buying. You want to be sure the company will accept your return / exchange if, for any reason, you are not happy with it.

Ask if items purchased online can be returned to a nearby store. This can equal a significant saving on freight charges.

Larger online companies usually offer this service, whereas a smaller company may not even HAVE a return or exchange policy at all.

Why is this an important factor? Because when you buy online, you can't physically touch the product and it may be quite different from what you expect.

One of the biggest things to look for when buying online is secure websites. If you are moved to a secured web site prior to your order being placed, it's a good bet you are safe.

Buyers need to be absolutely and positively safe and comfortable entering personal information online. When a website moves you to a secured site, your safety is confirmed.

Larger online merchants will just about always do this before you enter the first piece of information. If the website is not secured, your information may be intercepted by anyone smart enough and mean enough to pry that far.

Double check your order for size, weight, colour, shape, etc… Check your order through a few times and confirm it AGAIN just to be sure you haven't made a mistake. Billing and shipping addresses need to be checked as well for spelling, typing errors and such. Do your own figures and check them against the web page.

They should be identical and match perfectly. Make sure the price is correct and the shipping/handling is as it should be. Be sure of the delivery timetable and mark your calendar. Jot down any phone numbers the site offers and make note of the order number given to you. This is critical when confirming an online order.

Go back to the web site and confirm the order. Make sure everything is the same as you entered it and has not been changed in any way.

These simple steps will make a safer online buying experience possible every time.

Check back periodically for order status and delivery. When shipping has occurred, a tracking number should be offered. Write it down and track the package right to your door.

Buying online can be a bit frightening, but will only gain in popularity. By following these steps, you will gain confidence.

Knowing that your order is on the way to the proper address, and that the items are correct brings peace of mind. Remember to stick with the large companies and watch for secured web pages.

Using the online auction site Ebay

When using Ebay to buy items, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of having a happy frugal shopping experience.

Ebay are very hot on security and provide lots of good information for the shopper to follow, advice which if followed can dramatically reduce the chances of not receiving your goods.

Ebay sellers also have a strong reason to play by the rules as Ebay will not tolerate bad sellers and will ban them from using the service.

Considering that for a lot of sellers this is their main selling option, they are careful to not upset Ebay and conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Ebay provide seller's feedback, which is a strong indication for the buyer as to how well the seller has performed in the past.

Always check out comments left on the sellers feedback before buying, generally anyone with less than 95% positive feedback should be considered carefully, as this may be an indication that they are not reliable.

Buying online via Ebay remains one of the best options for the frugal shopper as many items can be sourced at a much cheaper price than on the high street. It is also a very easy website to navigate and is very well designed for clear and concise information and web surfing.

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