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Buying online increased by 14 per cent last year in Europe and the US, with global figures hitting the $1 trillion mark for the first time ever. A few years back you probably could have legitimised buying on the high street, as the technology just wasn’t there to give you the right kind of shopping experience. However, with online prices consistently smashing the high street in all sectors, it’s becoming more and more attractive to purchase your goods, gifts and even weekly shopping online. However, the main barrier to online shopping is confidence in security, so we thought we’d put together a little guide to shopping online.
The biggest thing to remember about security when buying online is that the retailers come off far worse than you in terms of online fraud. Last year $4 billion was lost by online retailers through fraud. Back in 1999 credit card fraud accounted for 98% of online theft, and it was a big problem. However, 2009 saw a sea change in attitudes, mainly from banks, which prompted massive changes in security. Now, in order for your card details to be stolen, online criminals have to not only go through the vendor’s (or your own computer’s) security, but a wealth of systems put in place by the banks. In short, credit card fraud through reputable vendors is almost non-existent in 2013. Far more prevalent are the kind of basic scams used by con artists for hundreds of years.
But what about assurances from your vendor? Promises from online vendors are their life blood. If they fail on these, they’re dead in the water. Newer vendors have a particular problem with this. After all, who’s going to trust the new boy in town, when the more established online vendors are already known to keep their promises? The simplest way to check on the validity of an online vendor when buying online is a quick (or not-so-quick) Google search. Find customer reviews, look for disgruntled clients or, in extreme cases, look at specific sites set up to complain about the vendor in question. Promises, ultimately, have to be taken at face value. If the company says it will deliver by Mother’s Day, and you can’t find anything substantial conflicting with that online, the chances are that your flowers will be delivered on time.
Accreditation is a funny thing. To many people, online accreditation is incredibly important, and rightly so. However, a single accreditation from one large company is not always the best sign of your satisfaction. You should consider a number of aspects when buying online. Customer satisfaction, ethical and industry quality accreditations are all worth looking for. It’s also sensible to check up on these accreditations to make sure that they’re not simply good-looking stamps that are being used to make a dodgy site look good. The very nature of accreditation means that you should be able to check on a site stamp’s validity with the controlling body.
The signs of a good online vendor are no different to those of a good high-street vendor. Reputation is key, both with personal recommendations and with the online community. Check the company out, ask your friends and spend a few minutes online researching the company before buying online. All of these things will give you a good idea of the reputation. Shopping around, especially if it’s not a product you’re too familiar with, can also yield big peace-of-mind dividends when buying online. You may find it more comfortable to pay a little bit more for the confidence that your product is coming from a more reputable source.
Much like a high-street store, look for places that have some kind of communication with a real person. If you can have a quick conversation with the vendor before you buy, rather than just inputting your details, you’ve got a much higher chance of getting hold of someone in person, should you have any after-sale problems.
So, we hope that’s eased your mind a little about buying online, but before we go, here’s a handy top-five to help you keep safe when shopping over the Internet.
However you shop, at least you know you can get fully accredited, high-quality diamond jewellery from ComparetheDiamond.com - formerly diamondgeezer.com.