Shopping online has never been more popular - it's quick and easy, and can save you both time and money. But how do you know you're getting the best of your shopping online?
- Always use secure sites when shopping online. Good sites use technologies that encrypt data during transmission, easily recognised by the locked icon at the bottom of your web window. Never send someone your credit card number by e-mail.
- Use retailers you already know and trust. If you're dealing with a merchant who is new to you, see if you can find out what others think of them, and check that they have a physical address.
- Compare Prices: one of the great things about the web is the ease with which you can compare prices - there are numerous sites that will do this for you. But don't forget to also compare with your high street - the web is not always cheaper.
- Check the postage costs. Remember to add this cost into the total - it could make your bargain less appealing compared with the high street. On the other hand, many sites offer free or discounted shipping.
- Know the returns policy. You are still protected by your regular statutory rights when you buy online from a UK retailer, but if you buy from abroad be sure you know the policies.
- Use Credit cards. You have the same level of protection whether buying on the web or the high street - in fact, many credit cards offer increased coverage for web purchases.
- Never give out personal information to do with your bank account, passwords etc.