Let Your Keyboard Do the Shopping

When you shop online, do it safely and efficiently.

By FamilyTime


Who wouldn't rather shop from the comfort and privacy of their own home rather than battle the mall? Before you sit down at the computer, think about the process.

There is nothing to be nervous about if you know what you are doing and take normal precautions.

Shop Smart

Rely on known merchants. This often means staying with brand names and merchants with solid bricks-and-mortar reputations.

If you are interested in bargains, look for shopping portals dedicated to finding good deals. Sign up for e-mail alerts to learn about sales. Act quickly when you hear of one.

Cross-check items and charges before hitting the “buy” button. Familiarize yourself with the return policies, too. Not all merchants with an online presence accept returns at the store. Take your time.

Print and keep all orders, item descriptions, and e-mail communications. These will help if you run into any problems.

Examine the merchandise as soon as it is delivered. If you are not home all day, consider having it delivered to your office. Contact the company by telephone or e-mail immediately with questions about your order.

Pay with a Credit Card

Despite reluctance on the part of some consumers, using a credit card is the safest way to pay for items on-line. To increase your comfort level, use a protected online service such as PayPal.

With a credit card, your liability for unauthorized charges is limited to $50. You are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act and can dispute charges and any problems.

If you make a lot of online charges, consider dedicating one credit card to them.Choose one with a reasonably low credit line. This way, it's easy to keep track of purchases and if your card number is hacked, the credit card company will not permit wild spending.