The best and worst deals on the High Street today

Top Tips for
Safe Online Shopping

We've all heard how great shopping
on the Internet can be. It can be cheaper, more convenient, offer a
better range of goods and providers,
and can help us to find rare or
collectable items that you'd never
find on the high street.
Best of all there are no queues and
there is plenty of parking online!
But before you start shopping there
are a number of questions you have
to ask yourself.

1. Do you trust the vendor?

2. Do they have a 'secure' server?

3. What are my rights as an Internet shopper?

If you are not sure read on-

How Do I Know I'm in a Secure Server?

When you go into a secure server the key or lock in the bottom of your browser will appear locked or highlighted. The address of the web site will also change from http://www... to https://www... signifying that the site is secure.

How can I be sure an online retailer is trustworthy?

Try to use retailers and services that you are familiar with or sites that have been personally tried and tested by people you know. Make sure that you have a way of contacting the retailer if the order goes wrong. Last of all, check delivery times and costs BEFORE you place your order.

What Are My Rights?

When shopping online, your rights are the same as shopping on the high street. You are entitled to:

clear information about the goods or services offered before you buy

written confirmation of this information after you have made your purchase

a 'cooling off' period during which an order can be cancelled without any reason and a full refund made

a full refund if the goods or services are not provided by the date you agreed. If you didn't agree a date, then you are entitled to a refund if the goods or services are not provided within 30 days.

What is distance selling?

A distance contract is one where there has been no face to face contact between the consumer and a representative of the business, or someone acting indirectly on a business' behalf, up to and including the moment that the contract is concluded.

This includes selling on:

the internet

digital television

mail order, including catalogue shopping



The key features of the Consumer Protection
(Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 are:

* you must give consumers clear information including details of the goods or services offered, delivery arrangements and payment, the supplier's details and the consumer's cancellation right before they buy (known as prior information)

* you must also provide this information in writing

* the consumer has a cooling-off period of seven working days


Other Useful sites


Office of Fair Trading

gives very helpful online shopping advice.

Trading Standards

for consumer protection information in the UK.

Data Protection Registrar

if you do not want your personal details to be used for direct
marketing, you have the right to object.

The Consumer Gateway

offers information and advice for consumers.

HM Customs and Excise

good advice on excise duties and VAT if you're buying from
outside the UK.

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