The Better Business Bureau wants you to be a safe and happy online shopper today! Here are their suggested tips for a great experience.
Shop on trustworthy websites - Shoppers should start with the Better Business Bureau to check on the seller's Business Review for customer satisfaction at www.bbb.org. Always look for the B-B-B seal and other widely-recognized "trustmarks" on retailer websites and click on the seals to confirm that they are valid.
Beware of deals that sound too good to be true- Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true, especially extreme low prices on hard-to-get items. Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a "deal" that might cost them dearly in the end. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Confirm that your online purchase is secure- Shoppers should always look in the address box for the "s" in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the "lock" symbol before paying. If there are any doubts about a site, the B-B-B recommends right-clicking anywhere on the page and select "Properties." This will let you see the real URL (website address) and the dialog box will reveal whether the site is not encrypted.
Pay with a credit card- It's best to use a credit card, because under Federal law, the shopper can dispute the charges if he or she doesn't receive the item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit card, and many card issuers have "zero liability" policies under which the card holder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it.
Keep documentation of your order - After completing the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page or the shopper might receive confirmation by e-mail. The B-B-B recommends saving a copy of the Web page and any e-mails for future reference and as a record of the purchase.
(Source: Better Business Bureau)