Tips for Safer and More Efficient Online Shopping


The convenience and opportunity that the internet offers consumers is unrivaled. While there are still occasions where a brick and mortar experience are more successful and beneficial, the internet has created an environment for people to be able to purchase practically anything quickly and without many roadblocks. The flip side to this is that there is also a loss of human connection associated with this style and opens consumers up to be scammed and taken advantage of. Educating yourself on ways to check the validity and reputation of a seller prior to giving them your money is a smart way to prevent this from happening to you. 

Large and Long-Term Purchases

Buying a car online is not uncommon but it does create vulnerability for the buyer, since this can be a sight unseen situation. A vehicle is a significant purchase and you want to make sure that you are not overpaying, or worse, buying a money pit because of false advertising. Do some independent research on the vehicle, compare it across several sales services, and once you have that baseline knowledge, use an accredited company that specializes in vehicle reports to cement the details on the specific car you are interested in. You can get Carfax reports for free by entering the VIN and your phone number and they will send you a SMS with a link to the Carfax and AutoCheck PDF files. Protect your current and future finances by gathering this information, the details of this report can help with sale price negotiations, and also with forecasting what you might be up against as far as maintenance and repairs down the road. 

Product Reviews

Walk in the footsteps of the shoppers who have come before you. Reading reviews about the products you intend to purchase, as well and the vendors who are selling them gives you a chance to try before you buy, so to speak, which is otherwise uncommon or even unavailable with online shopping. Pay attention to the good, bad, and middle of the road reviews, and try whenever possible to stick to familiar websites. Median reviews are going to hold the most weight in this scenario, the outstanding amazing ones and outstanding negative ones are generally not a good representation of a product or vendor in general. Try to seek out the reviews that are more fact based and have less emotional content one way or the other. 

Understand Policies

Every store and seller are going to have their own unique fine print items. Making sure that you understand your rights and obligations as a buyer before you formally purchase something is essential. Options for returning and exchanging goods is one of the most common sources of disappointment for online shoppers who have had a change of heart. Knowing up front if there is a window of time for returns, if you can expect cash back or store credit, or if something you are purchasing is final sale only will save you a lot of headaches on the back end.