Online shopping can be a confusing and sometimes hazardous journey. Just like with life, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly which rules to follow. We hear stories of fraud, cyber crime, and identity theft. We hear stories of people purchasing items and never receiving them. We hear even more stories of people just paying way too much for a particular item.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a set of 10 Commandments that applied to shopping online? A set of rules that, if followed could ensure our safety, success, and happiness when navigating the web? Well, as a seasoned Internet shopper, and with the help of several other online tips and resources, I have done my best to create just that.
Here is a list of 10 Commandments to follow when shopping online.
1) Follow the SSL
When you’re shopping online, it is crucial to shop at sites that you know can be trusted. This not only ensures your safety when shopping online (let’s try to avoid identity theft as much as we can), but it also helps to guarantee you’ll actually receive the items you ordered.
When you’re shopping on a website, look for signs that show you that this site can be trusted, and that they protect your information. SSL Security Certificates, “https” in front of the domain (the S stands for secure), the padlock icon, and third party badges (like from the Better Business Bureau or TRUSTe) are all good indicators that it is safe to proceed.
2) Protect Your Personal Information
Again, you need to take as many precautions as possible when shopping online to safeguard yourself. Only shop with sites you know and trust. Never enter your personal or financial information to a site that you don’t know can be trusted.
On top of that, never use a public (work, library, etc) computer when shopping online. Also, use your phishing filter. When presented with the option, use PayPal or Google Checkout for completing your purchase. Make sure your browser’s software has the most updated version (with its updated security features).
3) Use Your Credit Card
It is not a good idea to use your debit card when making online purchases. You have a lot more protection when using your credit card than when using your debit card. First off, if you’ve given your debit card number to a fraudulent source, they have the ability to completely wipe out your entire bank account. With credit cards, they don’t have access to your actual bank account.
On top of that, there are laws that give protection when using your credit card. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects credit card purchases. And with a credit card purchase, if you are the victim of fraud, your liability is limited to just $50.
4) Find the Best Deals
There is no reason to ever pay more when shopping online! If you find something to be overpriced, you should be able to find it for cheaper somewhere else. Of course never let finding a good deal get in your way of buying from a safe site. But there are so many options online, that you should be able to find a good deal while still purchasing from a reputable website.
5) Use Coupons & Discount Codes
There are so many ways to get discounts online! Once you’ve found a product that you like from a site you trust, find a coupon or discount code to use for that site. Sign up for that company’s newsletter and get discounts that way. Do a search for coupons for that company. With just a little bit of searching, odds are you’ll find a way to save yourself some money.
6) Read the Fine Print
7) Keep a Paper Trail
Keep records of all of your purchases. Print out (and/or email to yourself) all confirmation pages, receipts, company correspondence, warranties, etc. Not only will this help you keep track of all of the details of your purchases including amounts, shipping dates, etc, but it will also provide you with protection in case something goes wrong with the order.
8) Read Reviews
With the wealth of information available online, there is no reason to ever purchase blindly. Before you purchase anything online, read the reviews. Read reviews on the product you are purchasing. Read reviews on the company/website you are purchasing from. Make sure these reviews are coming from third party, unbiased sources. Know what you’re getting into before you hit submit.
9) Provide Reviews
Share the love! You know what products you’ve loved/hated, and what sites you’ve had good and bad experiences with. Now share those experiences with others. Just like you appreciate (and need) the feedback of others to help you make smart buying decisions online, you can provide that same help to others.
10) Stay in Your Pajamas
Come on, isn’t that one of the best benefits of shopping online? No need to get all dolled up here… it’s pajamas all the way when shopping online. But there is actual benefit to this one. Not only does it help you stay comfy (who wouldn’t want that?), but it helps you to remember to protect yourself. Only shop online from home, aka from your personal computer and connection. Never shop online from public computers (work, library, etc). Make sure your computer and connection are safe… only use your own personal, home computer to shop online.
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Keep these 10 Commandments in mind any time you are shopping online. If you do this, you can help to ensure more safety, better prices, better products, and an all around better online shopping experience. We hope you enjoyed this article! Please don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS-feed or follow Inspirationfeed on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook! If you enjoyed the following article we humbly ask you to comment, and help us spread the word!