Online shopping is a boon to us but not always. There have been so many instances of people receiving faulty products to going completely bankrupt after purchasing something eye-catching online. Sometimes it could’ve been avoided if you’d just read the product description but other times you might have to simply bang your head on the wall and lodge a police complaint. In this article, I’ll take you through the 7 important points that you must remember and perform whenever you’re shopping online. If you follow these, you might avoid unnecessary troubles.

1. Know your rights.

Oftentimes, people order things online and sit waiting for day months without receiving what they ordered nor receiving their refund, this is why knowing your rights is the first thing you should do whenever you think of ordering online. Nearly every e-commerce retailer has certain customer policies, this may include stringent return policies, not accepting returns once the product has been opened (most of the fraudsters use this policy), and warranty/guarantee claims. If you shop without worries then “must” read their policies carefully and deduce whether their policies are clear or fishy.

2. Read the product description/details thoroughly.

This occurs more often than you think it would. It recently happened with me, I ordered a pair of nice (Red ‘n White) flip-flops but failed to read the description or select the size properly (first time) hence I received flip-flops that were 2 sizes bigger and till date I’ve hugged the ground thrice while wearing them as I couldn’t return them… I know I could’ve avoided it if I had read the description and details carefully but I was none wiser. Whenever you order something online, take your time and carefully go through the product description (especially in the clothing section) and once you’re sure you’ve got everything noted, order it. It’ll save you from embarrassing yourself.

3. Check the product reviews.

Checking product reviews has saved more lives than doctors have to date (kidding), whoever reads product reviews before purchasing any product and avoids products without reviews has a happier online shopping than those who don’t. For eg: Back in 2014, my uncle ordered a Dell tablet that clearly stated 3G/wifi in the description but sadly there weren’t any reviews on it, and the product he received was only wifi (no sim slot available)… and on top of that, he wasn’t able to return or replace it. He still gave it to me for my birthday and within 3 months it started going bad… Now had he read the reviews, he wouldn’t have wasted money. Also never buy anything without reviews as it can be a hit or miss.

4. Compare products and prices.

Men need to do this more than ladies, as their in-built system forces them to compare each and every product they want to purchase in at least 3-4 places (yeah men are lazy and women have it right). When you compare certain products in a couple of places, you increase your chances of finding the same product at a lower price tag and of better quality than the previous one. According to me and many others, online Liquidation companies are one of the best places to buy genuine, superior quality products at a lower price.

5. Use a Credit card for online payment.

You might argue with this but using a Credit card for online purchases is actually a smarter and safer option. If you use a debit card for online purchases, it can get too easy for hackers to manipulate it and withdraw money directly from your bank. But if you use a Credit card, your banks can withhold the transaction and investigate the incident in case you complain about a fraud. Just to be extra safe, make a habit of regularly checking your bank statements and the transaction histories, you can also activate the SMS and email notifications for each and every transaction.

6. Opt for 2FA on all online transactions.

Two-factor Authorization, how many of you have it enabled on shopping as well as social media accounts? Not everybody I deduce (I deduced it by asking my sister). Enabling 2-factor authorization provides you with an extra layer of protection during each of your shopping adventures. 2-factor authorization simply alerts you about the (fraudulent) transactions that are taking place gives you plenty of time to cancel it and alert the bank.  No kidding but 2FA has actually saved my butt on two occasions, once I applied for something online that said “free” and asked for my credit card details, I filled them up and with-in 15 mins I got a message for the transaction approval of ₹3,000 ($39.95). Obviously, I reported it and blocked my debit card but the funny thing is, the card I used had a negative balance in it (it still does).

7. Use a separate contact number for online shopping.

This is the most important point and the scariest, most of us are guilty of connecting our main contact number to our various bank accounts and that is our biggest mistake. We forget how scary hackers and how they’re rapidly evolving, recently a software engineer has got robbed of ₹92,446 ($1,212) after she purchased a bottle of nail polish online and gave her contact number to the (fake) customer care as they promised a refund, but with-in few hours $1,212 was debited from 2 of her private bank account and 1 public sector bank account, all of that simply by giving the contact number.Keep that in mind and don’t ever give anyone your contact number that has been linked to your bank accounts or buy nail polish.

Authors’ Note:

 Thank you for your patience and for reading this before you made any serious errors (hopefully), those 7 points given above aren’t all of it. In-fact there are tons of things you should keep in mind when purchasing online. If you’re sincere enough about your safety, then you’ll easily figure them out. My favorite and safest option for online shopping is “pay on delivery” which saves a lot of trouble. Anyways, let me know if you have more safety tips below in comments.