Planning to do some shopping on Cyber Monday? Officials want to give you some tips on how to avoid scams and surprises while shopping online.
Here are some tips from Attorney General Roy Cooper:
· Read the return policy carefully. Some online retailers won’t let you return items to their local stores, while others may charge a restocking fee or may not let you return certain items if they’ve been opened. Many online retailers don’t refund shipping and handling charges, so you may have to pay for shipping if you need to make a return or exchange. This can be especially costly if the item was shipped from outside the country.
· Know how to contact the company if problems arise. Get the company’s street address and telephone number and verify them before you place an order. Remember to be especially careful when shopping overseas sites, since no U.S. or state agency has legal authority over business deals with companies in other countries.
· Consider paying by credit card. If your order doesn’t arrive or isn’t what you expected, you can dispute it with your credit card company. Federal law also limits your liability to $50 if your credit card number gets stolen. Get a credit card with a low limit that you use only for online shopping.
· Check site security before you enter any payment information. Look for a lock icon on the website and a web address that starts with “https”. Remember to check your credit card or bank statement carefully to make sure that you aren’t charged more than you agreed to pay, and report any suspicious charges to your bank or credit card company right away.
· Ask when your order will arrive. Internet and catalog shoppers are protected by the Federal Mail Order Rule. By law, a company is required to ship your order within the time stated. If you aren’t given a delivery date, the company has 30 days to ship your purchase once your order is received. If the item doesn’t ship on time, the seller must let you know and give you a chance to cancel for a full refund.
· Print out and save records of all online orders. Keep the product description, price, online receipt, order number and customer service number. Save any emails the company sends you verifying your purchase or updating you on the status of an order.
· Protect your identity. Guard your Social Security, driver’s license and bank account numbers when you shop online. Only share financial information via secure sites, never by email. Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or telemarketing calls that ask for your personal information.
To check out a company with the Attorney General’s Office or file a consumer complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina. Consumers can also file complaints online and get more holiday shopping tips at www.ncdoj.gov.