Tricks to help you be a su­per smart cy­ber Santa

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

CHRIST­MAS shop­ping needn’t mean a marathon schlep around the shops. Many of us will be go­ing on­line for at least some of our gifts – if only to be spared yet an­other cho­rus of Snoopy’s Christ­mas. There are a few tricks to play­ing cy­ber Santa.

Here are some tips… There’s just enough time to get the whanau sorted!

Check the terms and con­di­tions: As you mer- rily click away, it can be tempt­ing to tick the ‘‘I agree’’ box, with­out the faintest idea what you’re agree­ing to. It’s never a good idea. Spend a few min­utes check­ing out the sites poli­cies. Can you re­turn items? Will you get a re­fund or a credit? Who pays for postage? How long do you have to send things back? And so on.

Watch out for hid­den costs: Fees like postage and cus­toms duty ( if you’re buy­ing from an overseas site) can soon bump up prices. Don’t for­get to fac­tor th­ese in.

Play safe in on­line auc­tions: Bear in mind that the Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act (CGA) doesn’t ap­ply when you bid in an auc­tion − even if you buy a brand new item from some­body that is trad­ing as a busi­ness. If you buy from a busi­ness on a site like Trade Me, it’s much safer to use the ‘‘ buy now’’ op­tion. In this in­stance, the CGA does ap­ply.

Con­fused? You’ll be pleased to know that when new con­sumer laws come into ef­fect, around the mid­dle next year, the Con­sumer Guar­an­tees Act will ap­ply to all trade be­tween con­sumers and busi­ness.

Choose care­fully when buy­ing from overseas: When buy­ing from overseas, it’s best to stick with sites you trust. Sites that are not reg­is­tered in New Zealand may not be bound by New Zealand con­sumer law. In other words, if you have any prob­lems with your gift, the overseas com­pany is not obliged to sort them out.

Pay by credit card: Paying by credit card is the safest way to shop on­line. If any­thing goes wrong – for ex­am­ple the web­site turns out to be a scam – you can ask your bank to re­verse the trans­ac­tion. This is called a charge­back.

Do your home­work: If you stum­ble across the per­fect present on a web­site that you’ve never heard of, it’s worth do­ing some re­search be­fore you buy: Type in the com­pany’s name, fol­lowed by the word ‘‘scam’’. If the web­site is fake or un­re­li­able you may un­cover some cau­tion­ary tales from oth­ers.

Sift your state­ment: De­cem­ber state­ments are rarely a cause for Christ­mas cheer. But when you’re feel­ing brave enough, it’s worth run­ning through all the trans­ac­tions. If you spot any­thing strange, con­tact your bank. More in­for­ma­tion at con­sumer­af­fairs.

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