Our guide to safe online shopping

Online shopping is amazing, if a bit dangerous for our bank balances! At the simple click of a button a host online shopping sites become available to us and we can order basically anything we want in minutes. It takes the hassle out of trudging through shops looking for that perfect dress for a wedding, or those dream shoes. No more getting elbowed by other fashionistas bidding to get a better bargain than you in the sales. New items for your wardrobe are delivered straight to your door. Just like that. But like everything there are some major pitfalls to shopping online, and we’re not just talking about the size or fit being wrong. If you venture onto the wrong site and don’t protect yourself you could be risking your personal details and give the wrong person access to your bank account. To prevent this we’ve got some tips for you when shopping online to make sure you end up with a lovely new wardrobe, and nothing else.

1. Good reputation?

Know the website you’re planning on buying from and ensure the website is secure before entering payment details. Does it have a good reputation? Have you ordered from them before? Have any of your friends? Does it have a good rating from its previous customers? These are all the things you need to keep in mind before you even attempt to enter your bank account details. Also bear in mind the web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’ so keep an eye out for that.

2. Fake Fancies

The majority of online shopping sites are completely fine but unfortunately bogus online sites exist. These are fake websites that offer items that don’t exist, which is too late when you’ve already entered your bank details. If a website looks suspicious or is offering something which seems too good to be true, don’t attempt to buy anything from it until you check it out properly.

3. Currency Check

You’ve found THE perfect outfit and it’s only €60, or is it? Make sure you’re looking at items marked in the currency you intend on buying them in. If something is £60 but you misread it as €60 you’ll end up paying more for it when the money comes out of your account, so take the time to make sure this is all as it should be.

4. Size Wise

Know what you are buying. Carefully check the size and colour of the product you’re about to buy. Is it the material you want? Will it suit you? Will it match something else in your wardrobe? There’s no point in buying something online just because it’s easy. Make sure you’ll love it, you don’t want it hanging in your wardrobe gathering dust.

5. Read the fine print

What is the website’s policy in relation to returns and refunds? How many days do you have to get the items back to them? Is there a charge for this? Will you get a full or partial refund? Are there extra postage and handling fees charged? These are all things that could impact your online shopping experience so be aware of them.

6. Secure Payment

This is crucial for when shopping online. Always use a secure payment method like PayPal to complete your purchase. This prevents the seller from seeing your credit card details so there’s no way your card can be skimmed. Avoid money transfers or direct debits and don’t even attempt to email your credit card details to anyone. And we mean anyone.

7. Receipt Record

After each online transaction you’ll get an email confirming your order. Keep this safe along with your order number should any problems arise. When the money comes out of your account, compare the total with the total on your confirmation receipt to make sure the correct amount has been taken. If there is a discrepancy contact the website customer care team immediately to rectify the problem.

8. Returns

If you do buy something and it’s not exactly what you wanted or it doesn’t fit properly, follow the returns policy on the documents you received and send it back straight away. Otherwise you could be left with an unwanted item and less more in your bank account.  

How to find the best stuff online in FIVE MINUTES FLAT:

We’ve all been there. Dragging ourselves through the shops in the winter cold and the rain, desperately searching for that perfect outfit but ending up with nothing except damp, frizzy hair and a bad mood. It’s pretty easy to see why millions of highstreet shoppers have migrated to online stores, but even that process is nothing like as simple as it should be. If you’re not careful, you end up spending just as much time trawling through millions of open tabs on your computer, desperately searching for a great dress/blouse/shoes and finding nothing. But new Irish company Opsh.com is going to change all that. It’s going to revolutionise online shopping and drag it kicking and screaming into 2014. The site brings together all your favourite shops into one beautiful, easy-to-navigate place – instead of opening 10 tabs and typing ‘red dress’ into 10 different search boxes, you’ll be able to search every store from one site, and with one account and one check-out, you’ll be able to buy a bunch of clothes from different shops with a single click. Basically, you’ll be building your own Grafton Street online. With that in mind, we set the OPSH girls the task of finding the perfect coat for winter – but here’s the catch: they had to find it in theshortest possible time online.On Opsh.com, you’ll be able to find it in seconds. In the real world, it took a little longer.... The Online Search of the Post-Winter, Pre-Spring Warm (Non-Pink) Coat Opsh are on a hunt. A hunt for a coat. A coat that’s not pink (hello 2013). Something that is going to keep us warm, fashionable and get us through springter. Yep spring and winter, we’re not going to apologise for this, we all know it’s going to get QUITE a lot colder before getting better. So we’re in a bit of a hurry, we want our jacket online, delivered to our door and we don’t want to waste our lunch hour looking for it. Seven tabs open, five contenders, two cups of tea and a whopping 75 minutes later we FINALLY have found a coat in the size, colour we wanted, length and that delivers in a reasonable time. Sites Searched:
  • New Look
  • River Island
  • Topshop
  • House of Frazer
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Zara
  • Warehouse
Total coat/ jacket Results: 2532 Time Spent: 75 minutes Tea: Cups X 2 Hair pulled: Close but none Winner: Urban Outfitters’ Longline Duster Coat. On sale, looks warm and stylish. Versatile; can add a fur collar, a belt or broaches. Will suit heels, flats or trainers. Come to me my beauty (in 3-5 working days...)