Shopping Online Be Safe, Not Sorry by djh75337


									Shopping Online: Be Safe, Not Sorry                                                                                                                                                                             Virtual Sales In 2007, Americans bought over
                                                                                                                                                                                                                $20 billion worth of music and video products on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                the Internet, making them the most popular online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                purchase. By 2011, however, it is projected that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                consumer electronics sales will far outpace other
It’s hard to put a price tag on convenience. But by taking a little
care, you can get your money’s worth.                                                                                                          Bidding Online                                                   products sold online.

                                                                                                                                               Comfortable online? The biggest and best deals often                U.S. Online Retail Sales (in billions of dollars)
                                                                                                                                               exist beyond the big stores. Two of the most widely
Buying Online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Consumer electronics
                                                                  E-Buyer Be Aware
                                                                  Along with its unique benefits,
                                                                                                           GO FIGURE                           used alternatives are Craigslist and eBay. Craigslist, the          2007
                                                                                                                                               relatively free classified and message board, and eBay.

Online shopping may already be a regular part of your life. You   online shopping includes some                                                                                                                    2011*                                                             23.4
don’t have to drive anywhere, stand in line, or haul the stuff                                                                                 com, the popular auction site, offer shopping alterna-                       Music/videos
                                                                  unique challenges. How do you really
home. A few clicks will do it all. And you can shop 24/7.                                                                                      tives with a different set of rules tailored for                    2007                                                              23.4
                                                                  know if the online retailer you’re                                                                                                               2009*                                            13.7
                                                                                                                                               the online marketplace.
                                                                  dealing with is reputable and your
It’s Easy to Be Smart                                             information will be secure? For the                                          Local appeal is a major Craigslist advantage. It provides
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   2011*                                                      17.6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Event tickets
If you have ever gone from store to store looking for a hard-                                                                                  access to backyard buyers and sellers at relatively no              2007              5.4
                                                                  most part, you have a higher degree       The amount of all
to-find item, you will appreciate the ease of shopping online.                                                                                 cost. Your next entertainment center might very well                2009*                             8.2
                                                                  of confidence if there is a brick-        merchandise sold                                                                                       2011*                                       11.9
Who has the item in stock? Who has the lowest price? Free                                                                                      be three towns or three blocks away.
                                                                  and-mortar backup to the online           online that gets
shipping? Quickest delivery? You can get the answers to all                                                 returned.                                                                                           * Projected
                                                                  stores. Major retailers devote a lot                                         In its attempt to keep you scam-free, Craigslist encour-
of these questions with the click of your mouse. For starters,                                                                                                                                                  SOURCE: The 2008 Statistical Abstract of the United States
                                                                  of resources to ensuring that their       Source: University of Nevada
                                                                                                                                               ages buyers to “deal locally with folks you
you can check price comparison sites such as,                                                   Center for Logistics Management
                                                                  customers have a satisfying and                                              can meet in person.” The site also includes detailed or
                                                                  secure online shopping experience.                                           safety guidelines.                                           So how are buyers and sellers protected? Buyers rate
Read the Reviews                                                  That does not mean that you should not deal with online-only                 On eBay, buyers can quickly and easily comparison
                                                                                                                                                                                                            the reliability and service provided by sellers and eBay
All right, so you can’t try on shoes or a shirt online. Online    vendors. See the Five Online Shopping Tips below for advice                                                                               makes these ratings available to you. However, if you
                                                                                                                                               shop for just about anything, from used cars to leather
buyers trade that advantage for online customer reviews.          on making sure the sites you use are secure and reputable.                                                                                win a bid and do not go through with the purchase, you
                                                                                                                                                                        bomber jackets. Using an
A recent study of online buyers shows that 9 out of 10                                                                                                                                                      are stuck with a negative rating for the rest of your eBay
                                                                                                                                                                             auction format, eBay
Americans read reviews posted by other customers online                                                                                                                                                     life. There are also services that make it possible for you
                                                                                                                                                                                engages shoppers in                              
before they make a purchase. You can access detailed                                                                                                                                                        to pay an individual seller using your credit card.
                                                                                                                                                                                  competitive bidding                                                       Personal Finance
customer-driven product reviews for almost any product.                                                                                       4
Love the product, you can let the world know. Hate it,                                                                                           Steer clear of sellers
                                                                                                                                                                                   wars. The product
                                                                                                                                                                                    goes to the             Fighting Fraud                                  4/18/08, rev 5/19/08, 8/28/08

you can warn others as well.                                                                                                                     who offer low prices               highest bidder.         There is a new charge on your credit card bill! But
                                                                                                                                                 only to squeeze you                                        where is the merchandise? You never got it, or even
                                                                                                                                                 on shipping costs.                                         worse, you never ordered it. Many credit card compa-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            nies will investigate suspected cases of fraud on your
                                                                                                                                                                                                            behalf, limiting your liability to $50. Also, the Fair
              1                                                                                                                                                                                             Credit Billing Act allows you to withhold payment if you
                  Check out the reviews
                                                                                                                                                                                                            believe that someone has stolen your card number.
                  written by other buyers.                                                                                                                         5                                        You also have the option of filing complaints with the
                                                                                                                                                                       Use a credit card as it
                                                                                                                                                                       offers the best safeguard            Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at The FTC
                                                                                                                                                                       against fraud, but never             offers you advice on how to protect against fraud, iden-
                                                                                                                                                                       e-mail a credit card number,         tity theft, and questionable business practices. The site
                                                                                                                                                                       bank account information,            guides you step-by-step through the process of filing a
                                                                                                                                                                       password, or PIN number.             consumer complaint.
                                 Look for a padlock icon in the
                                 browser and “https” for security.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Are You Ready?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1. What are the advantages of shopping
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2. What are two possible pitfalls?
                                            Check for endorsements from                                                                                                                                                                                          To learn more about
                                            rating agencies, such as the                                                                                                                                                                                         this topic, visit
                                            Better Business Bureau (BBB).                                                                                                                                                     online                   

PF38                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           personal Finance handbook                    P F 39

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