Consumer rights

Before you buy online

You can take some simple steps to protect yourself online: research websites before you buy, make sure the payment method is secure, and watch out for scams.

Some other things you can do:

  • Avoid impulse shopping, especially with daily-deal sites.
  • Read online feedback — but remember this feedback may not be genuine.
  • Shop around — compare prices and conditions.
  • Work out the total cost including any delivery charge, administrative fee, tax, duty or foreign exchange rate.
  • Use a credit card if possible — it’s more secure and if there’s problem, you might be able to ask for a chargeback to reverse the payment.
  • Be wary of offers that appear too good to be true.
  • Keep your personal data secure — check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Check the Customs website for prohibited imports — there are some things you can’t import from overseas.
  • Monitor children’s access — some businesses market directly to children.
  • Avoid pyramid schemes, which are illegal — watch out for things like chain letters, ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and home-based employment opportunities.
  • Keep a record of all your purchases and keep all your receipts.

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