Tricks to help you be a super smart cyber Santa
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. govt.nz.