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Tips for becoming a savvy online or catalog shopper

If you are interested in online or catalog shopping, become knowledgeable. Here are some tips to consider.

  • When making purchases online, make sure you are buying through a secure site. When you get ready to finalize your purchase on a secure site, you should see the http: portion of the web address turn into https: This protects personal information such as your credit card number. When a secure transaction occurs, your information is encoded and only the retailer's website can decode it.
  • Look for a privacy policy to find out how or if your personal information will be shared with others.
  • If purchasing an item on a website such as eBay, look at the seller's rating. This feedback from past customers will give you information on the quality and reliability of the seller.
  • Make sure the site or catalog distributor is reputable. Many major retailers now have catalogs and/or online shopping sites.
  • When viewing merchandise online, keep in mind that you can enlarge the picture to get a better view.
  • Be sure to check the return policy and guarantee offered by an online or catalog retailer. Look for a toll-free number in case you encounter any problems.
  • Save your receipt and any packaging from an item that comes in the mail in case you need to return it.
  • Keep in mind the convenience of not having to drive to a store to compare prices, so determine shipping and handling costs on products you buy online or in a catalog.