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The dos and don’ts of e-commerce

The invention of the internet has brought about countless changes in human life. One of the most important changes among them is the freedom to shop online. Ecommerce, the new mode of shopping, has revolutionized the way to shop. It offers a plethora of options as well as the desired convenience for which people have been craving since a long time. Despite all the positives of ecommerce, there’s a ark side to it which calls for proper attention. At times, you may get puzzled while buying online. News of people being duped while shopping online isn’t rare to hear about. In reality, the world of ecommerce is a bit complex. Familiarity to this complicated world will help ensure that you’re miles away from turning into a statistic.

THE DOS AND DON’TS OF E-COMMERCE

The world of online transactions can be a minefield unless you know what you’re doing out there. Here we list some widely accepted best practices

The invention of the internet has brought about countless changes in human life. One of the most important changes among them is the freedom to shop online. Ecommerce, the new mode of shopping, has revolutionized the way to shop. It offers a plethora of options as well as the desired convenience for which people have been craving since a long time. Despite all the positives of ecommerce, there’s a ark side to it which calls for proper attention. At times, you may get puzzled while buying online. News of people being duped while shopping online isn’t rare to hear about. In reality, the world of ecommerce is a bit complex. Familiarity to this complicated world will help ensure that you’re miles away from turning into a statistic.

The universe of online shopping is ever-evolving. New websites crop up and old ones update themselves to provide better services to customers. The hundreds of online shops spoil you for choice. However, there will be times when after buying the product, you find it unsuitable or unable to meet the standard of quality you were expecting. What do you do in such a situation? And then there’s the most confounding aspect of online shopping − the method of payment. You can pay through cash on delivery, net banking, cheque or via third-party payment gateways such as CCAvenue or PayPal. Then there are sites such as Junglee which inconveniently redirect you to third-party sellers’ sites – each with its own accepted modes of payment, terms of agreement and sign-up procedures − to make purchases.

 

While leveraging online shopping facilities, you may be a victim of hacking, phishing, online fraud, identity theft and other attacks. A good number of people are targeted every day. They unknowingly disclose bank account and credit card information which is later used to steal money from their accounts. But don’t let all this dissuade you. You can enjoy secure shopping by just following certain guidelines and taking into consideration some advice.

 

So then, what should you and shouldn’t you do while making purchases online? Below is a list of do’s and don’ts of ecommerce to make your purchase secure and hassle free.

The Dos

1. Understand your needs: You should have a clear idea about your needs and wants of a product before landing on any website. This will help you choose the right website for your preferred product. It would also save your precious time with the additional benefit of a number of options to choose from, making your purchase decision easy.

2. Go through the reviews: Before buying a product online, never forget to read the reviews of that product. It comes as an advantage in deciphering the product from the point of view of experts. Specific sites such as www. thinkdigit.com publish reviews on a number of products. Sometimes you can also rely on the reviews posted by users on these shopping sites. Also ask friends to share their experience of the product.

3. Look for discounts: One of the best features of online shopping is that you always manage to get some percentage of discounts on products. In addition to cashing in on the discounts touted at the website, check out discount coupon sites like www.desidime.com/ and www.couponsforindia. com/ for further price slashes. Comparing prices of the product on different sites before making a final buying decision is also a good alternative to get a cheaper price.

4. Read the return and exchange policy of the website: As an informed and conscious customer, you should be aware of the return and exchange policy of the website from which you’re buying. This will come handy in case an incorrect or substandard product is delivered to you. Generally, the return and exchange policy of websites can be found on the seller’s webpage, but in case you don’t find it there, either email or call the company’s customer care service and ask them for the same.

5. Choose the payment method that suits you: While making payments, always try to be extra cautious. Online shopping websites offer a number of payment options and you have the freedom to choose the one that suits you best. You can make the payment at the time of buying a product or after getting its delivery. But not all websites offer the convenience of cash on delivery.

6. Check websites for security: Before disclosing any personal information or making the payment, always remember to check the security of the website. Look at the URL and make sure you find “https” in the beginning of the web address. You can also look at the status bar of the browser for a ‘lock icon’. Clicking on this icon will display the security details of the website.

7. Check out your bank account after payment: You’re advised to check your bank balance the moment you clear the payment. Doing this confirms that you paid the mentioned amount without any extra charges deducted from your account.

8. Use the services of PaisaPay and PayPal: PaisaPay and PayPal are eBay companies which allow you to make online payments without revealing any information about your bank account or credit card. PaisaPay is an eBay India service and cannot be used on other websites, but you can use PayPal for other transactions. PayPal withdraws money from your account to pay a seller. In this process, companies only receive their money and never get hold of any of your bank account information.

9. Keep your computer updated: An updated computer keeps you protected from online frauds. All you need to do is to install anti-spyware, anti- virus, pop-up blocker and network attack blocker programs. Keeping all these programs updated will ensure that your personal information and passwords are kept away from the reach of hackers and crackers.

10. Check for ISIS accreditation: ISIS (Internet Shopping Is Safe) is a regulatory board which emphasizes on proper and honest dealing. It verifies companies after a thorough review of their services. Most companies are now ISIS accredited. To check a

website for accreditation, simply click on the ISIS logo which will lead you to a new page displaying the company’s accreditation.

The don’ts

1. Don’t believe if it’s unbelievable: Sometimes you come across deals which are too good to be true. Instead of blindly going after them, try to suss out reasons for relying on such deals. These deals may be advertised to distract your attention from the legitimate deals and be an effort to deceive you.

2. Don’t shop in haste: This is an important aspect. Take some free time out for shopping − you’ll need it to read reviews, shortlist worthy products and find the best price you can get for it. So make it a rule: no shopping when you’re in a hurry.

3. Don’t shop from insecure websites: Always look for reputed websites. Never ignore the importance of reliability. Always shop from websites on which you can count on. Also, don’t get swayed away by the links you see on social networks and via mails. These websites may put your personal information at stake. Therefore you must search

for genuine and real websites to shop from. You can also check out the reliability graph of websites just by the click of a mouse.

4. Don’t forget to check the product at the time of delivery: When your order is delivered to you, examine it thoroughly. Is it the same product that you had ordered? Scrutinize it for defects. If you find any kind of misappropriation or defect in the product, contact the concerned customer service representatives of the company and ask for a replacement.

5. Don’t ignore the website’s privacy and security policy: Reputed and legitimate companies on the web will always have their privacy and security policies in place. These are updated on a regular basis. Never ignore this section. Take some time out to read the policy of the website. After reading them you can be rest assured about the legitimacy of the site as well as about your purchase. It helps you figure out whether the site is concerned about your security and wants to facilitate hassle-free shopping.

6. Don’t use unauthorized apps: The number of mobile internet users is increasing with each passing day. A chunk of people also use tablets to access the internet. Developers have been quick to jump on the mobility wagon and create apps for convenient shopping from your mobile devices. However, whenever you download these apps, make sure that the apps are authorized ones and the companies distributing them are reliable.

7. Don’t respond to fake calls and emails: You may already be privy to email and calls asking you to update your personal information and bank details on sites. At first blush, these may seem genuine, but in reality they’re not. So never respond to such email and calls. You can either ignore them or complain about them to the concerned authority.

8. Don’t use public computers: Don’t bother using public computers for purchasing online and making payments. Using friends’ computers or the public computers at cyber cafes are akin to deliberately inviting malicious elements to invade your privacy. Always remember that the public computers can have hacking tools installed via malware which can easily Image source take away your valuable passwords and other important financial details. When you use your own (updated) computer, you ensure that nothing fraudulent of this kind happens to you.

9. Never use common and easy passwords: People who tend to use common and easy-to-remember passwords are sitting ducks for hackers. The same is the case if you use one password for almost all the sites you have an account on. Always use complicated and long passwords. Also make sure that you have different passwords for different sites. By following this advice, you reduce the risk of having your account hacked and can protect yourself better.

10. Don’t pay by going out of the system: Sometimes you may be asked to leave the usual shopping cart system during online payment in order to complete the process. This, however, should raise red flags because you’re not supposed to jump out of the system to make the payment. Don’t let yourself be fooled; stick to the usual system of payment. This list of the do’s and don’ts has been prepared to make you aware of the intricacies of online shopping and the precautions you need to take to avoid being scammed. Ecommerce is relatively new in India so follow the above mentioned guidelines which picking up products online. It will not only protect you from online frauds but also make your shopping experience safe and secure.