Online shopping has become a phenomenon over the years, and since the Covid-19 lockdown even more people are shopping online. If you’re new to online shopping, you must be careful to avoid some potentially costly mistakes.
Matthew Leighton, spokesperson from e-tailer OneDayOnly.co.za, highlights some of the things you should do to avoid a regrettable online shopping experience.
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Make a list of your favourite places to shop
Online shopping can become overwhelming, and unlike traditional shopping in a bricks and mortar store, you have the option of shopping in multiple stores at once, says Leighton.
But before you open 300 browser tabs, be sure to make a list of your favourite places to shop. That way you have an idea of where to go for specific items.
During the lockdown, start with a list of all the places that are still selling and delivering essential items.
Hunt for deals
One of the mistakes that people make is not comparing prices or checking deals. Before you make an online purchase you must do research. This will help you save money.
“Sales and deals are an integral part of shopping online. More so than in retail stores, you can find products on special or at reduced rates. However, stock can be limited – hence the superior pricing – so it pays to be quick on the click,” says Leighton.
Most online shops send newsletters with their products on offer, and subscribing to these newsletters can be the difference between securing the deal you want or missing out, he says.
Also browse through the deal section for the latest specials that you can take advantage of.
“Cyber safety is a big part of shopping online – there are a few do’s and don’ts. If something looks too good to be true, and you haven’t heard of the site before, do some research,” says Leighton.
If searching the site name doesn’t yield any results, you’d do well to proceed with caution.
There are many well-known South African shopping sites for you to choose from. All of these will offer a few payment methods, including credit cards. These sites may remember any credit card details you’ve previously entered but will always request you to enter your CVV number for any purchase.
Leighton says the online shopping procedure is simple, but it may look confusing at first.
Most sites have a very similar checkout layout, which allows you to choose your delivery address, payment method and (sometimes) delivery date in an easy-to-understand and step-by-step process.
Still need help? Contact customer service – you can do this on the site – and a customer service agent will assist you with anything you may need.
Senzo Nsibande, head of card fraud at FNB, shares these tips that you can use to protect yourself against online shopping fraud:
- Protect your card details and ensure that you shop via secure platforms or websites – these will start with https://.
- Don’t disclose your One Time PIN to anyone, including family, friends and ‘bank officials’.
- Protect your One Time PIN the same way you protect your card PIN.
- Fraud departments or any official from a bank will never ask you to disclose your PIN or One Time PIN.
- Never send emails quoting your card number, expiry date or CVV number.
- Register for a free instant SMS service that notifies you when your card is swiped or when cash is withdrawn from your account. Most banks have this service.
- Be alert and aware of individuals contacting you pretending to be from the bank.
- Verify any information presented during a suspicious call by checking your transaction history through the banking app, or the Contact Centre using the number on the back of the card.
- Should you suspect any fraudulent activity, immediately report the incident through the banking app.
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