Take care when shop­ping on­line

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - VAL RI­LEY

Shop­ping on­line is a handy way to shop. But it’s not so easy to judge the qual­ity of a prod­uct or re­tailer you are deal­ing with. It’s also much harder to sort out prob­lems if the pur­chase goes wrong.

When you buy on­line your rights de­pend a lot on whether you buy from a New Zealand or over­seas re­tailer. If you buy from a New Zealand re­tailer then you are pro­tected by New Zealand con­sumer law just like an over the counter sale.

With the re­tailer be­ing re­quired to pro­vide clear and easy to find in­for­ma­tion about their terms and con­di­tions, and it’s worth check­ing th­ese to find out what to ex­pect re­gard­ing re­turns, war­ranties and how long de­liv­ery might take. If you are buy­ing from an over­seas re­tailer then you don’t have much pro­tec­tion, so it’s a good idea to care­fully check who you are buy­ing from. Es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional on­line re­tail­ers tend to pro­vide good cus­tomer ser­vice be­cause it is good for their busi­ness. If you have a prob­lem with some­thing you bought from them they usu­ally try to help you re­solve it. When buy­ing on­line from over­seas you may be charged cus­toms duty on your goods when they ar­rive in New Zealand and cer­tain goods are not al­lowed into New Zealand. No mat­ter where the re­tailer you are deal­ing with is si­t­u­ated, some com­mon prob­lems with buy­ing on­line in­clude goods not sent or de­liv­ered late or goods not match­ing their de­scrip­tion. Ex­change rates and de­liv­ery costs may make the prod­ucts more ex­pen­sive than you ex­pected if buy­ing from over­seas. Do some home­work on the web­sites you are us­ing be­fore you buy, shop only at se­cure web­sites and make sure the pay­ment method is se­cure. Fake web­sites re­sem­ble le­git­i­mate sites so it pays to en­sure that the site is le­git­i­mate If you are un­sure get some help to in­ves­ti­gate the site more thor­oughly be­fore you use it. Keep your per­sonal data se­cure by read­ing the re­tail­ers pri­vacy terms and con­di­tions. This should tell you how the re­tailer will use your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. Only use your credit/debit card to pay on­line if the busi­ness uses a se­cure pay­ment sys­tem – you’ll see a pad­lock icon in the win­dow of your browser. Some credit card com­pa­nies may re­verse a charge on a credit card if goods are not re­ceived or a charge made to your card is un­der dis­pute. If you are buy­ing on line reg­u­larly then it pays to have a sep­a­rate credit card for this type of pur­chase and make sure you change the pass­word reg­u­larly. Pay­ment us­ing on­line bank­ing does not usu­ally give you a come­back if things go wrong.

Val Ri­ley works at the Cam­bridge Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion or ad­vice re­gard­ing the above or any other prob­lems phone 07 8274855, or drop in to 62 Al­pha St. (open 9am un­til 4.30pm Mon-Fri).

Drop in JP Clin­ics are held at the CAB on Mon­days from 9am to 11am and Fri­days from 12pm to 2pm. No ap­point­ment is nec­es­sary.

HAVE YOUR SAY

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Cam­bridge Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau is there to help peo­ple.

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