Online Buying Guide

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Online Buying Guide

By: John Parsons

These days you can order almost anything without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Online stores and auctions are great ways to shop for those hard to find items, and a great way to find deals in the process. As a consumer you need to be aware of the positive and negative aspects of online shopping. Below you'll find our online shopping awareness guide.

-First and for most, Know your seller and research who you are buying from. The internet is a great resource. Often you can find customer reviews of products as well as online businesses.

-Read the “About Us” Section of the Companies website. This often provides valuable information about the company and their customer relation policies.

-Look for a logo or endorsement seal on the company website. This is an indication, but not a guarantee, of the seller's reliability.

-Visit a website like Their consumers' rate online stores and products.

-Internet auction sites usually post ratings of sellers based on comments from buyers.

-Check the total price. Make sure it includes all charges—shipping, handling,insurance and taxes. Make sure you are clear on what you are buying.

-Watch for words like “refurbished,” “reconditioned,” “close-out,” or “discontinued.”

-Protect your personal information. Use a secure website to help protect your credit card from misuse.

-Never send your credit card number by e-mail because e-mails are not secure.

-Use a software encription program such as Software Oasis Encryption Utility . These will hide your credit card numbers when you purchase online.

-Give your credit card, debit card, or bank account number only if you're using that account to pay.

-Keep a record of your purchase. Keep track of what you ordered, when, the price, and how you paid (check, money order, charge, etc.). Also save any information the seller gives you such as product description, delivery date, cancellation policy, privacy policy, warranties, and order confirmation numbers.

-Keep track of your order. If it's late, see Your Rights: Shopping from Home

-When buying from an online auction Make sure you know the rules of the auction. Only buy from reputable auction sites such as

-Can you cancel a bid? Don't assume that the rules used by one auction site apply to any other auction site.

-Does the auction site provide free insurance or guarantees for items that are not delivered or what the seller claimed?

-Learn the value of the item you are bidding on. Establish your top price and stick to it.

-Don't bid on an item you don't intend to buy. If you're the highest bidder, you are legally responsible for paying for it. Auction companies often bar those who back out of a deal from future bidding unless that can work out a deal with the seller.

-If the seller can't accept payment by credit card, use an escrow service such as iKobo Money Transfer. In doing so your money is held by a third-party until you get your purchase and approve release of your payment to the seller.

About The Author

John Parsons is founder of

The Mission of CorporateNarc.Com™ is to educate the public in consumer affairs and to provide consumers with up-to-date business information. In addition we hope to ensure better services for the consumer by exposing business fraud and corruption, as well as unfair and deceptive business practices.

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