Online shopping: Hard and steadfast rules

Online shopping really simplifies things... it means we can sit on our laurels and, with the click of a button, have almost anything delivered to our front door, from groceries and gifts to school supplies, ready-made meals, clothes, toiletries, or anything else you can think of! It seems too good to be true... and it can be, if you don't follow these hard and steadfast rules for online shopping.

Shop at known websites/online stores. There are a lot of "fake" or untrustworthy websites out there, so be diligent about doing your homework and ensuring that the sites you're using are reliable. Read reviews and ratings. A good indicator: make sure the URL at checkout has a Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) to ensure it is secure.

Review return policies thoroughly. Before making your first purchase with a new website, read the site's refund rules.

Sign up for free trials. A lot of websites will offer promotions for first-time users, and this can give you a good idea of how the site and shopping process works.

Don't "overshare." That means, if you're prompted to enter in an unusual amount of information, such as your Social Insurance Number or your birthdate, be cautious. 

Track your order. A lot of websites will allow its clients to track their orders, and, when given the option, make sure you do so. That way, you always know what's happening with your purchase.

Price compare with brick and mortar stores. Online shopping can be misleading, making you think you're getting a great deal when really, you can get a similar or even better price at an actual store. You can also see if the website offers price matching.

Melany xx