ACCC sounds warning on online shopping

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is sounding warnings in the lead-up to the festive season, asking customers to be cautious about how they spend online.

The consumer watchdog's deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said with the so many choosing to buy from the internet, some advice could be prudent.

She said while online shopping might help bargain-hunters find more products and save time, there were pitfalls.

"It can be confusing as consumers navigate unfamiliar selling platforms such as online auctions, figure out which reviews to trust and try to pay securely," Ms Rickard said.

The ACCC suggests shopping around online to ensure you find the best price, deal with trusted or reliable online stores and keep personal details private and secure.

Under Australian law, internet retailers must offer buyers the right to repairs, replacement or refund of their purchases.

This applies to international sellers too, although this will be harder to enforce.

  • Do your research - what is the delivery cost, when will the purchase arrive and does the seller have a good reputation?
  • Buy Australian - Australian sites are more likely to abide by ACCC rules on buyer rights.
  • Keep it personal - be careful with using credit cards online, does the site allow secure payment?
  • If things go wrong - Look at online reviews and consider what your options are if something goes awry.

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