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Shopping online

Shopping on the internet is a convenient alternative which allows you to shop around the world without leaving home. However, you should remember that when you buy products online from an overseas seller, NSW laws only offer you limited protection. Most sellers are reputable but there are some that aren't. Here are some things to remember when shopping online:

  • Be careful of offers that sound too good to be true.
  • Know who are you dealing with, check the company name, a street address, telephone or email address.
  • If you are dealing with a seller for the first time, find out who they are by calling them and checking their business details or selling history.
  • Shop around and compare prices, postage, refund, warranty and return policies.
  • Read the terms and conditions of your purchase, including the fine print.
  • Check the exchange rate, sales tax and import duties.
  • Check the legality of importing goods from overseas with the Australian Customs Services.
  • Check the delivery method, date and cost.
  • Check the trader's privacy policy and how they handle personal details. Look for an assurance from the trader that they will not sell or trade your details.
  • Have a special credit card for online shopping with a low credit limit.
  • Never send money or give credit card or your password or personal bank details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • Check if the site is secure before paying. Look for a key or closed padlock icon at the bottom or on the top of the computer screen.
  • Don't forget to print out the payment or order confirmation and keep it in a safe place.
  • If using an internet auction site, write down the ID numbers involved and read all the security advice on the site first.
  • Do not use public computers for internet shopping or banking as they may not be secure.
  • Beware of scams. Check the website addresses carefully as scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate websites.
  • Be careful when using software on your computer that auto-completes online forms. It can give internet scammers access to your personal and credit card details.
  • Install software that protects your computer from viruses and harmful programs and keep it up-to-date.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up ads and websites that offer 'free' products or downloads as it may lead to potentially harmful programs being installed on your computer without you knowing it.
  • Check the SCAMwatch website and the National Fraud Information Centre (USA) website for the latest scams to avoid.


Copyright © 2011 Money Stuff

An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
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