Website Design in Cheltenham’s guide to the phrenetic world of Black Friday- and our top tips for safer online buying.
The Monday following Thanksgiving is also known as Cyber Monday, as data shows it is the biggest online retail day of the year with online sales of £810 million in the UK in 2014. The deals are also not limited to just these 2 days, you should see a raft of great deals throughout November and December.
Here are our top tips to help you stay safe when shopping online this Christmas.
1. Check to see if the company is reputable
So you have found the product you want at a great price, but you have never heard of the retailer, how do you know they are all they are cracked up to be?
Always check that the company is reputable, this can be done fairly simply starting by looking for the obvious signs: check that the company is displaying a UK based address and telephone number on their website, that they have a number of contact avenues over and above an email address or contact form.
You could also take their limited company number and check it is still active on the companies register, this will also tell you how long they have been trading and what other company names they have used previously.
Make sure you feel confident they are who they say they are, if you are not sure – look elsewhere.
2. Read online reviews
Sites such as SafeBuy are dedicated review sites as well as Trustpilot, Reevoo, and Review Centre will enable you to see what other people are saying about the retailer you are thinking of using.
Average ratings are useful in that if they have a high rating with a large number of reviews, then they should be a reputable online retailer.
Sometimes poor ratings are generated by things such as slow delivery times. Check the website is upfront about slow delivery if this is the case. But if the reviews cite problems such as unresponsive customer service or poor quality items then you should think about avoiding those retailers and taking your money elsewhere.
3. Check that the checkout is secure
This is one of the most important things to look out for- is the connection secure?
When buying online, you want to know that your transaction is going to be handled securely, there are a number of things to do here:
The first thing to check is that the checkout process is secured by SSL. You can do this by looking at your browsers address bar and look for the padlock icon, also check that the address begins with https://. This means that the communication between you and the website is secure.
Sometimes the payment page will be hosted somewhere else, such as Paypal, this is fine, just make sure that the page where you enter your personal details is secure as well as the payment page.
4. Protect your personal information
Giving online retailers your personal details is an inevitable part of online shopping, they need to know your email address to send you a copy of your invoice and keep you up to date with shipping etc. And of course they will need your address, otherwise they will not know where to send the items!
However- you also want to know that the retailer is going to look after your data once they have it, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the homepage, and see what assurances they give you about protection of customers through their shopping experience, be that external review site, money back guarantees, or data protection statements.
5. Know your online rights when buying
The law has recently been updated when it comes to your consumer rights, it is now covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and came into force on October 1st 2015. It replaced the Sales of Goods Act 1979.
Make sure the goods that arrive are as described, if the website description is different to what you received or the quality is not satisfactory, you are entitled to a full refund. The goods should be fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.
If something is faulty, you are entitled to a full refund within 30 days, after this your rights become more limited, such as being able to ask for repair, replacement, or partial refund.
6. Extra protection from your credit card in the UK
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 states that a credit provider must take the same responsibility as a retailer if things go wrong. This protection covers most purchases that are between £100 and £30,000 and means that if for example, the company that you bought something off went into liquidation before you received your goods, you can claim the money back from your credit provider.
This protection covers credit cards, store cards, store instalment credit and some car finance agreements where a single item is between those values. As an added bonus, even if you just pay for part of the item on credit, you are still protected for the full value of the item.
So if you are making any big purchases this Christmas, make sure some or all of it is paid for on credit.
Hopefully this will help you to keep safe online. Good Luck!