0pen.co.uk & Search-Portal.co.uk provides a straightforward online shopping directory of UK brand named merchants and online stores, allowing you to shop conveniently and safely over the internet.
Safe internet shopping
With more and more people regularly using the Internet, it is important to ensure your safety when you buy online.
We are keen to raise awareness of best practice at 0pen.co.uk/SearchPortal.co.uk and as such we are pleased to support the Department of Trade and Industry's Safe Internet Shopping initiative, whose aim is to ensure that you are fully aware of your consumer rights when you buy online.
The increasing availability of the Internet and digital TV mean that it's now even easier to shop without leaving your home.
But as a consumer, you should still take care when paying for goods and services.
Before you buy
Make a note of the company's contact details, including a street address and landline telephone number. Never rely on just an email address.
You should also remember that you may have to pay for shipping costs, customs duty, VAT, etc. All these hidden costs can push up the price of the goods or service. It should be quite clear if you are expected to pay any extra costs and VAT should be included in all prices quoted.
Paying for goods online
It may be worth paying by credit card. If the goods or services you are buying cost over £100 and you pay by credit card, you may be protected by the Consumer Credit Act. This states that the credit card company is equally liable for any defects. Therefore, should a problem arise, you can claim EITHER from the trader OR from the credit card company.
Note that for this protection to apply, the contract price must be over £100. For example, if you buy a suit, the jacket of which costs £75 and the trousers cost £40, you would have protection. However, if you bought the items separately instead of as one suit, you would not be afforded the same protection as neither of the items amount to £100.
Problems can arise when the company you are buying from is based outside the EU. For example, a guarantee may not be valid in the UK, or the goods may not work in the UK. Although UK law may cover your contract, in practice it might be very difficult to get any money out of a company based abroad.
- Make sure that the web address of the page starts https:// before you enter any personal information or payment details. The 's' stands for 'secure'. There should also be a small padlock that appears in the bottom of your screen.
- Always print out a copy of your order and a copy of the acknowledgement that you should receive.
- Always check your bank statements carefully if you purchase something on the Internet.
- You should never be asked to tell anyone your card's PIN number - even if they claim to be from your bank or the police. Never send your PIN number to anyone over the Internet.
What to do if things go wrong
If you buy goods on the Internet, you still have the same rights as if you were shopping on the high street, in relation to faulty or poorly described goods.
In addition, you are entitled to a seven working-day 'cooling off' period, as described in the 'distance selling' section of the 'consumer direct' factsheet Your right to cancel. (Please note that the rules for financial services (including consumer credit) may allow a different withdrawal period. Please contact Consumer Direct for further advice).
Where to go for help
If you have any queries, or if you need more advice, please visit Consumer Direct.
This factsheet is intended to provide general information only, and should not be taken as a full statement of the law on this subject. Phone your local Consumer Direct centre, or contact an alternative consumer support service if you need further or more detailed advice.
There are 5 key tips for Safe Shopping Online:
If your credit or debit card is used fraudulently in the EU, the card company must refund you.
Use ones you know or which are recommended and always get the supplier's phone number and postal address.
Keep a copy of what you've ordered, plus the supplier's confirmation message.
Your high street consumer rights apply online.
In many cases in the EU the law lets you change your mind and get a refund within 7 working days of the delivery.
The Government website www.consumerdirect.gov.uk contains all the above tips as well as any other information you should need about shopping online safely.