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How to Know Which Websites to Trust When Purchasing Products Online

Shopping online is fast and convenient, and it allows savvy consumers to find plenty of cheap deals. Unfortunately, as more and more people turn to Internet shopping, a growing number of unscrupulous retailers and low quality products are flooding the market. If you want to take advantage of cut-price bargains on the Internet without being the victim of fraud, it is important to ascertain whether a website is genuine before you make a purchase. There are several things to look out for when judging a potential site:

Pay Attention to Payment Security

The biggest risk when buying online is payment security. When providing your credit card details or other personal information, it is essential to make sure that the website’s payment method is secure. The web address on any page asking you to enter your details should begin with ‘https’ rather than simply ‘http’ because the ‘s’ shows that the data you send will be encrypted.  A secure transaction is also symbolized by a yellow lock or key symbol displayed in the lower status bar on your web browser.  The securest sites allow you to pay via PayPal or through an Amazon flexible payment service.

Check for a Certificate of Authenticity

Buying a brand name item online is often cheaper than making the same purchase in store, but many of the websites claiming to sell official goods are instead selling cheap replicas. Not only are the material, color, and quality of an imitation item likely to be different, but the product could even be unsafe.

Fortunately, most designers issue certificates of authenticity to their official retailers, so if a site claims to sell brand name or designer merchandise, they should be able to show you their certificate on request. Bear in mind that if the price of a designer item seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Country of Origin

Laws concerning fraud and consumer rights vary widely between countries. Whilst you can get perfectly good products from anywhere in the world, buying from within your own country guarantees you to be protected by all your nation’s laws.

Look at the Website’s Design

The quality and effort put into the design of a website is often a useful reflection of the company itself. When a site is created by a professional, a lot of thought goes in to making it as easy to use as possible. If a website is difficult to navigate, lacks important information, or seems poorly run, it is best to avoid it.

Find Previous Customer Reviews

The most honest opinions of a retailer usually come from actual customers. Some sites have feedback sections and forums of their own, but independent customer reviews on websites such as Amazon and Ebay are also a good place to look.

Always make sure the URL starts with HTTPS

As mentioned previously, websites with URL's starting with HTTPS rather than HTTP guarantee that data being sent is encrypted and safe from search. Website owners must take a number of steps in order to verify that they are a valid business in order to received the HTTPS in their URL.

By taking time to judge an online store carefully before you give out your details is the best way to ensure that you have a safe and rewarding shopping experience.