If you like to shop online, follow these tips to help you get what you pay for and avoid scams.
- Buy from established companies. Get the company’s street address and telephone number and verify them before you place an order. You can check out the company with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection office or your local Better Business Bureau.
- Be careful with overseas companies. If you have problems with a company based outside of the U.S., federal and state authorities may not be able to assist you.
- Don’t be fooled by a fancy Web site. A professional looking Web site doesn’t mean that the company is legitimate. Watch out for Web sites that use words like “too good to be true” or “hot opportunities.”
- Don’t give out personal information. Never give out your Social Security, driver’s license or bank account numbers. Be suspicious if someone asks for your passwords or any information used to install or access your Internet service.
- Make sure the site is safe before you place your order. Look for a lock icon on the Web site and a Web address that starts with “https”.
- Find out about refunds. Get a written copy of the company’s refund policy.
- Find out about shipping and handling fees. Look at costs for different shipping options because the seller may not choose the least expensive one for you.
- Pay by credit card. If your order doesn’t arrive or isn’t what you expected, dispute it with your credit card company. Protect your credit card number by using a secure Web site. Don’t email your credit card number. Federal law also limits your liability to $50 if your credit card number gets stolen.
- Use one low-limit credit card for all online purchases, or request a one-time-use number from your credit card company before you make a purchase online.
- Keep a record of your order. Print out a description or photo of what you ordered, a copy of your order form and any order confirmation you get back.
- Check the delivery date. By federal law, companies must ship your order by the date they promise. If they don’t give you a delivery date, they must ship your order within thirty days. If the seller cannot ship the item on time, they must tell you and give you a chance to cancel your order for a full refund.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about online shopping, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.