Online Shopping Tips
Online Shopping Tips
The world of e-commerce is booming. South Africa has a young online shopping sphere that is often dominated by large market shareholders but there are often great deals and superior service available from smaller specialized online stores. I will always advise approaching any online store with trepidation and scrutiny before making any purchase to avoid falling prey to unsavoury individuals. Here are my top tips when approaching an online store.
1. The Fine Print:
2. Payment Options:
Each e-commerce store will have different payment methods available and may make use of different payment gateways such as PayFast or Peach. The general rule of thumb is that a PayFast registered website is quite secure and allows for credit card transactions which can be queried upon fraudulent transactions. As a consumer it is also important to know your rights, a business cannot make you pay a surcharge fee for using a credit card. They can, however, provide a discount for EFT or cash payments.
3. The Age of the Website:
New e-commerce websites are constantly popping up, especially during the current CoVID 19 pandemic. Websites with an older domain name registration date are more likely to have been operating successfully. This is not a foolproof method of identifying genuine websites and is more of additional aid to help ease your mind. You can use the whois database http://co.za/whois.shtml to look up the registration date of a website. Recently whois has redacted a large amount of information made available to the public but you can still see the domain registration date.
4. Store Information:
Look for basic information available on the website. A genuine cellphone number, a unique email address ( eg firstname.lastname@example.org and not a Gmail or Yahoo address), a physical address and a company registration number. Please note sole proprietors may not have a CIPC number as it is not a requirement. You can also further inspect the company's physical address using google maps to make sure it is a legitimate address.
5. Your Gut Feeling
Always trust your gut. If a deal seems too good to be true then it most likely is. E-commerce often offers better pricing on products compared to brick and mortar stores but apply caution to the wind. Sometimes scammers will offer big-ticket items at hugely discounted prices to increase traffic to their website.
While the list above is not fully comprehensive and there are always extra things you can do to get peace of mind, it is a good foundation to build on when approaching any new online store.
If you have any other tips or recommendations leave some comments down below!