Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Online Shopping Best Practices

In a relatively short period of time, we've gone from a widespread fear of accepting rides from strangers and meeting people from the internet, to paying money to get a ride from a stranger from the internet (hello Uber).  We've also seen explosive growth of online shopping.  Shopping online is enticingly convenient, and can lead to some great cost savings.  With the ease of access also comes additional risks.  Here's a few tips that can help avoid the headache of getting ripped off.

Start by doing some research.  Shopping online with the bigger companies is usually pretty safe, but even some of the big sites, such as Amazon, will sell wares from third party vendors. When ordering from Amazon, ebay, etc, pay attention to the name of the seller; do you recognize it?  Do your homework on these smaller vendors, and see what others have to say about them.  Quite often, you can read reviews about the seller right on Amazon's website.  If not, head to your favorite search engine and look them up.  

Most sellers, even the smallest ones, will have a Facebook page, with reviews.  Go read those reviews!  

Check with the watchdogs.  The Better Business Bureau keeps tabs on many online sellers, and will allow you to search for reviews and complaints.  They even have a scam tracker (click here) that allows you to search by name or location. 

If you've never heard of a seller or business, and you can't find any information about them via search engine (google), avoid them.  Any reputable business will have some information available, with positive reviews on their Facebook page, Yelp, etc.  When in doubt, don't click that mouse button!

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