Purchasing items online should be an easy, convenient experience, and a great way to score deals when you’re buying on a budget. You can do it from the comfort of your home and think about a purchase for as long as you feel like without some shop assistant giving you side eye. #truth
However, it can also provoke major anxiety. How do you know you’re getting the best deal? How can you be sure the seller is legit and that the item in question actually looks like its picture— and will arrive at your house in one piece? What if those leather pants are too small? too big? Phew!!
For the rest, here are some tips to keep in mind before you start draining your PayPal account.
- Use common sense. It’s easy to get caught up in the passion of a purchase— especially if you’re participating in an online auction and it’s getting down to the wire— and lose your head. Listen if something is too good to be true, it probably is. If Louboutin shoes are on sale for $50, they’re either fake or they’re missing a heel. Don’t fall for it.
- When buying something online make sure the web address is secure. This means it will have an s in it’s domain, and will read “https:,” as opposed to “http:.”
- Keep a record of any correspondence you exchange with the seller. If you are in possession of an email that says the bags you’re buying is authentic, with the original lining intact and a detachable shoulder strap included, it will be easier to get compensated when a battered, ragged designer imposter clutch shows up in the email.
- Whenever possible use credit card. American Express, MasterCard, and other major credit cards have claim departments, which can help you stop payments or contest fake charges. This is not true of money orders or services like PayPal.
- Also—Never send cash!!
- Don’t respond to unsolicited e-mails, and make sure the e-mails you receive are from legit sellers. Once you enter the worldwide mall of internet shopping, you will often be solicited by people peddling sub-par merchandise. Just like you would be on the street, be wary of people who come up to you hawking goods you didn’t want in the first place.
- Do your homework. See if the seller has been positively reviewed by other buyers. Ask yourself if the site feels legitimate. Larger, corporate sites will help buyers(and sellers, for that matter) who are wronged—but some rinky dinky website thrown together by dodgy spammers should be avoided, especially if the sellers request your direct banking information.
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