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Important tips to consider when shopping online

With Kenyans warming up to the idea of online shopping by the numbers, how can consumers ensure that they are safe when buying from online platforms?

A shopper is expected to carry out due diligence, and a thorough research on the product and company to avoid costly mistakes like being stuck with substandard goods.

Harrison Mwaura is one unsatisfied online shopper who has been left with no option other than keeping a product that he does not want.

His woes started after he made an order at an online shopping site for imported shoes which would be shipped from abroad.

Unfortunately, the shoes he had ordered ended up being a big fit for him and was later informed by the website that global shipments could not be returned, that the rule only applies to local shipments.

“Since the shoes were not my fit I was ready to incur the cost of returning them in exchange for the correct size. However, they informed me that this was also not possible,” Mwaura narrates.

“They have no return, refund, exchange policy or any other way of protecting customers who buy from them. These sellers have misleading descriptions of products on the website. They prominently displayed their 7 day return policy on local shipments, but cleverly hide the No Return policy on global shipping products,” he lamented.

So what should one do to avoid these inconveniences? Below are some key points to consider when shopping online.

1. Read the fine print

Make sure you thoroughly read through the terms and conditions. This will help you understand what risks you will be taking to help avoid unforeseen troubles. Learn about their return policies and to know if the listed prices are inclusive or exclusive of any taxes.

2. Do some research

Doing research on the type of product one wants to purchase encourages buyers to make informed decisions. Read online reviews from other users to assess the rate of client satisfaction in regards to the products on display.

3. Ensure the transactions are secure

Making sure your online transactions are secure remains an important aspect when buying things from the internet. One needs to take various security measures where payment is made before delivery – and where mobile money is not applicable. If the site offers the cash on delivery option, opt for this to cushion yourself from disappointment when the product or service does not meet your expectations.

4. Avoid public terminals

It is better to use your personal computer rather than transacting from a cyber café. Also when shopping online, especially when using a credit or debit card, one is required to enter the card number details.