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Think Before You Buy

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Online shopping allows consumers to easily purchase a wide variety of products or basic needs through mobile apps or online shopping websites. Unfortunately, the amount of online scammers out there continues to increase. They tend to target consumers who lack experience in using online shopping platforms. As online shoppers, there are things for us to be concerned about when shopping online. For example, sometimes, certain product details can be easily overlooked by consumers. Things like terms and conditions as well as the size and measurement disclaimers often get dismissed. Here are some tips for you to protect yourself while shopping online.

Always find out the details of the seller's background. While you are seeking out the details, you must go through some thorough research. From these details, we can gauge the trustworthiness of the seller. The following are the ‘must-knows’ when you are shopping online: the shop location and the validity of the seller's contact information. It is always good to do as much research on a seller as it lowers the chances of getting scammed, especially for online shopping newbies. It is all about protection and awareness.

Something you should avoid when shopping online is giving your personal information to a merchant when you have not done your research on them. This includes details of your credit and debit cards, your house address, and your phone number. It may get you into trouble when you unknowingly give out valuable information about yourself. Scammers take advantage of those details to do unpredictable things behind your back. If you are unlucky, the scammers will use your information to perform malicious acts like borrowing money from loan sharks or scamming the people around you. As a result, you might end up losing a huge sum of your hard-earned money and damage your reputation. Again, this is why doing your research on the sellers before making a purchase is of the utmost importance.

Before you happily press the checkout button and make your payment, take some time to compare the product quality and its price among different merchants. This helps you to identify the market price of a product, preventing you from spending on something that has terrible quality. Imagine this, website "A" sells a product at RM50 while website "B" sells it at RM100. A smart consumer will make their purchase at website "A" since it sells the product at a more reasonable and affordable price. However, be on the lookout for knockoff products. You may come across products that are typically expensive being sold at insanely cheap prices. You may get excited and make the purchase, only to realize you have bought a knock-off of the product you thought you were getting. Be a competent consumer and get to know the price range of a product to avoid paying more than you should.

One of the most common mistakes consumers make while online shopping is disregarding the user reviews before they buy something. It is essential that one pays attention to what the buyers say about the product before making any purchases. This ensures the dependability of the seller. Also, do not be shy or afraid to ask the 'experienced online shoppers' around you, like your friends and family! They are always willing to share information with you. By learning about their shopping experiences, you lower the chances of making unsatisfactory purchases. This helps you to avoid other issues with online shopping as well! Who knows? Maybe your peers already own the same item you are planning to bring home. This makes the perfect opportunity for you to ask them about the seller's services and the product quality. It might be troublesome to look for reviews, but it helps tremendously in online shopping.

Lastly, be very careful when you directly purchase from social media platforms unless you know the seller very well. Social media platforms are places where plenty of unfortunate shopping experiences are most likely to happen. For instance, you might not receive the products after you have made your payment or you may end up with things that do not match whatever is shown in the pictures. When these cases happen, the seller might ghost you or tell you that it is non-refundable nor changeable as you have already opened the packaging. In the end, you would end up getting the short end of the stick.

Undeniably, online shopping is extremely convenient and pleasant. However, there are so many ways for you to protect yourself while shopping online and to make your shopping experience even better. From now on, make it a habit to take the necessary precaution when you are buying anything you like at an online shopping platform. By keeping all these in mind, you will become an intelligent and well-informed online shopper in no time.

By Tan Shu Qi


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