If You’re Shopping Online with Credit Cards, Trust Your Instincts

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Money is on the Web

Credit cards lead to the many success stories when traveling around the Web, uncovering the answer to an often taboo question: Is the Web really making money? 2009 offline and online retailers expect to see a 1.8 percent increase in 2009 sales, according to a survey of 100 chief marketing officers of leading retailers by the Retail Compass Survey.

Is the Internet Making Money During the Recession?

Most online retailers offer online shopping, because they accept credit cards. Cheryl Schmidt, owner of Taste of Toledo Gift Baskets and Gifts, is a business owner getting steady interest from the help of the Web. About half my sales come from my Web site, Schmidt says. It isn’t that all her sales are online, but a lot of people use the online store as a catalog to call in orders or visit the shop if they live in or near Toledo. Taste of Toledo is offering Christmas theme gifts this time of year. The Toledo and Ohio Gift Basket is always popular year round, and especially during the holidays.

Online Shopping Can Be Dangerous; Keep Yourself Safe

While shopping online is more convenient and safer, in most cases, than shopping in a store, never let your guard down. The BBB (Better Business Bureau) offers tips for online shopping, some include:

Trust In Your Instincts

If a gut feeling makes you uncomfortable about bidding on or buying an item online, or if you feel more pressure than an ant under an elephant to place an order quickly, you should probably avoid buying from the Web site.

Gain Knowledge of Web-based Auctions

The worst thing to do is jump directly into a Web-based auction without checking out the important details. Take time to familiarize yourself with the rules and policies of the auction site, but also the legal terms regarding warrants, refunds, etc. of the sellers item which you would like to bid on.

Do a Double-Take with Prices

If you stumble upon a wonderful Web site offering the best looking laptop computer for $50, red flags should wave. Be careful, keeping in mind to watch out for prices that seem too good to be true. It doesn’t matter if the product is new or used, the price should coincide with the item you intend to purchase. If unsure, do some research online. This could also confirm your decisions to use discretion when shopping online with credit cards.

Find the Privacy Policy and Read It!

Its very important that you read the privacy policy to find out what information the seller is going to try and collect from you, how the information will be used and how you can stop the process. If you search for the privacy policy link somewhere on the sellers home page or included with the legal terms (where it should be located) and find nothing, dont do business with them.

Be Alert and Check the Connection

After youve drooled over the things you wish to buy, you might want to pull out your credit cards and click on the buy now button. However, before you provide payment information, there are icon and software programs that will tell you security software is being used on the website. You want to see what levels of encryption are in place, and whether they use credit card security is accredited, like through a company like VeriSign. If all is in place, you can relax and buy with ease.

Inspect Your Purchase When It Arrives

Once the item arrives in the mail, examine it carefully. If you notice any problems, contact the seller in writing immediately. Tell the seller what isn’t right with the product, and make sure to include a lot of detail. Also ask for repairs or a refund, and keep a copy of the correspondence.

Pay the Safe Way

The safest way to pay for anything on the Internet is by using the Visa, MasterCard or Discover logos; or, simply put, credit cards. In the event of fraud, card issuers have security methods in place that consumers can use.

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