Online Shopping

5 Key Elements of a Trustworthy Online Store

Online ShoppingShopping online is fun, and it’s much more convenient than your traditional visit to the mall. However, with the lack of personal contact with the seller, you have to be extra careful whom you choose to do business with. Here are five elements to look for in an online store before trusting it with your money:

 

  1. Personal Information: Check the website’s “About us” section to find out the owner’s name. Also look for additional information, such as the business’s physical location, a telephone number or email, as well as the company’s background and current standing. A trustworthy professional knows the importance of relationship-building in an anonymous online setting, and he is eager to prove his credibility.
  1. Customer Support Options: Many online businesses choose to process support tickets exclusively via email in order to save time. If that’s the only option offered, the vendor should be able to respond within a couple of days; otherwise, your requests may get stuck in limbo. In any case, it’s always reassuring to know that you can pick up the phone and talk to a company representative in real time.
  1. Online Security: Before giving up your bank account information to an unknown seller, assess the overall security of the website. Do you log in to your account from a secure browser? Does the site accept well-established payment methods such as major credit cards or PayPal? Is the seller clear about shipping costs and additional charges? Do not reveal any personal data unless all security measures necessary are in place.
  1. Too much Required Information: A seller doesn’t typically need your Social Security Number or ID card number to complete a transaction. Therefore, an online store that asks for more information than absolutely necessary should raise a red flag. Make sure you also read the site’s Terms of Use to find out how the personal data you provide will be handled.
  1. Overall “Feel”: Take a closer look at the website itself. If the layout seems cheap and the pages are filled with typos and hype words, you had better do your shopping elsewhere. A legitimate businessman knows how important his online store’s appearance is, and he has invested time and money to make it look good.

While it may be hard to resist what seems to be a great bargain, trusting an unreliable online source can turn your shopping experience into a nightmare. Identity theft, financial loss, and credit card fraud are only a few of the risks you might end up dealing with, so choose your vendors wisely.

 

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