Take care when shopping online
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.
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