Is It Safe to Shop Online?
Now, there are a lot of questions regarding the safety of shopping online. Let’s answer & enhance our shopping experience.
Frequently disinfecting surfaces and social distancing is the reality for now. A lot of activities, including work, school and shopping takes place online. However, ordering goods sometimes also comes with some liabilities. Besides the obvious risks of your package getting lost or having a troublesome experience returning the items, there are other issues that now come to play. Since a lot of people shop online from global brands and through services like Amazon or eBay, there have been some discussions about the safety of purchasing these items.
Questions like these pop-up in our social media feeds or forums. Even though it feels like all we hear now is about the pandemic, there is actually very little valid information about the way it spreads.
So, first of all, let’s establish the following…
Is online shopping dangerous during this pandemic?
Answer: No, it’s not.
Actually, shopping online is recommended by the government to prevent going outside and coming into contact with someone who may have it.
When to be careful?
However, whether you want to clean the surfaces of several goods once you receive them via an online shopping service, is up to you. Of course, vegetables, fruits, berries and other similar products are always recommended to wash before use. However, the World Health Organization has stated that so far there is no evidence that supports the transmission of COVID-19 from non-porous packaging. Also, no infection cases where transmission of the virus came from coming into contact with packaging.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to wash your hands frequently and clean often used surfaces.
Now, since that is clear, let’s move onto other safety tips when shopping online.
Research brands and service providers
Whenever we commit to purchase online, we put our trust into the product and brand. Sometimes, there is a real risk of something going wrong. That is why, doing a proper research of the service or brand is a good starting point. You don’t have to dig-deep to find out whether the service or products are legitimately worth your money and time. Looking up reviews is one of the best ways to find out the real-life experience of the service or goods.
Ensure the website is secure
Any pushy pop-up ads or emails most times are not to be fully trusted. Sometimes, just by the look of the website you can tell whether the company is legitimate or not.
There are multiple web browser extensions that can guide your online shopping experience, and make sure you don’t fall into a trap. Reason Web Security is a great extension you can add to your Chrome browser – it will warn you whenever you enter an alarming website.
Know your rights
This is an important one when it comes to purchasing expensive services or products. In any case, it is essential to first – see what is the return policy (whether the company offers free returns or you will be charged at the post office when sending the item back). Also, what are your rights when returning the item in case of damage or other reasonings.
Make purchases with credit card or PayPal
Paying with a credit card will provide a more secure checkout process. Also, online services like PayPal is a great way to make sure no scammers will be able to get a hold of your bank details. Especially if you are purchasing from an unknown service provider, you will have a better bank account protection when using PayPal or your credit card.
Explore local brands
Of course, no one can guarantee a completely safe and satisfactory online experience. However, if you will order goods from your local brands or service providers there is a higher chance to have a better communication and understanding of your rights and return policies. Also, most cases regional brands are more credible than companies from other countries. Specifically, during these uncertain times, supporting local commerce will benefit both sides: you and your community.
The harsh economical consequences are only yet to come. Since small, local businesses are the most vulnerable at this time, they will be hit the hardest. At the same time, our socio-economic state is highly dependent on a growing and stable economy, which influences our taxes, wages and quality of life. That said, see how you can support your favourite local businesses online.