Your guide to safe on-line shopping this Christmas

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

Online shopping

Safety tips for online shopping this festive season

With Christmas just a few weeks away people are busy searching for the perfect Christmas gift. Online shopping has become a convenient way to purchase items but it is not without its problems. Everyone has heard horror stories about identity theft, unauthorised credit card deductions and purchases which turn out to be faulty or worse, never appear at all. Here are some top tips to safe, hassle free online shopping.

Direct Delivery
There  are a number of delivery options available to you, check with your retailer to choose one that suits you. Most retailers also give you the option of having your purchase delivered to an address other than your credit/debit card billing address. If there's nobody at your home address during the day, it makes sense to direct your parcel to an address where someone will be able to take delivery for you - your work address, for example. 

UK and US websites
If your retailer is based in the UK or USA and doesn't deliver to Ireland or has expensive shipping costs, you can still get the things you couldn't with AddressPal your virtual address in the UK and US. 

Returns
Should you need to return your purchase for any reason use ReturnPal the app that allows you u to return products you have bought online back to Irish and UK Retailers. You can have your item collected from a nominated address or you can drop it off at your local Post Office for return to the Retailer.

Always Ensure Your Computer Is Secure
Make sure your system is running with up-to-date anti-virus software, and has the latest software security updates installed. 

Protect Your Privacy 
Check the “Terms of Service” and “Privacy Policy” to know what information the website is collecting about you and how the owners of the website will use it. 

Get The Details 
Check for expected delivery dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies and other important information. 

Keep An Eye On The Final Price
Keep an eye on the price and make sure it includes all extras such as VAT, postage and packaging, and insurance if required. Most sites display the price of the product inclusive of VAT. The shipping charge, if any, is added at the checkout stage. This information should be easy to find on the retailer’s site. 

Keep Good Records 
Print or save any records related to your purchases. Generally, the store will email you a receipt for your purchase. 

Shop Only At Sites You Trust
For the safest online shopping experience, it's best to stick with online shops you trust.

Know Your Rights 
As an Online shopper you are protected by law, to some extent you may indeed have a greater level of protection than high street shoppers. As a consumer shopping in the EU, the EU Distance Selling Act protects you as long as the company you're ordering from is based in the EU.

For more information on your rights and the EU Distance Selling Act, be sure to visit the Citizens Information website here.