Consumers shouldn’t be too trusting when shopping online, because dishonest dealers also operate on the internet. In order to avoid disappointment, check the information of the online shop and pay with a credit card whenever possible. In March, the Consumer Advisory Service shared information and instructions about consumer fraud in online shops as part of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network’s Fraud prevention month campaign.
Check the reliability of the online shop before making a purchase
It’s a good idea to check at least the following about the online shop before paying for your purchase:
- Does the company provide its contact information? Where and how can you make contact if there are problems with your order? Avoid websites that do not provide contact information, contain spelling errors or translations of poor quality.
- What does the company say about cancellation rights related to distance selling? Does the website indicate that in principle you can cancel an order within 14 days of placing the order or receiving the goods?
- Does the website include user feedback? If it does, do some of the comments seem to be written by the same person? Do the comments only include positive assessments of the company and its products? For the sake of comparison, look for comments about the company on other similar websites.
- Symbols like a closed lock or unbroken key at the top of your browser page indicate that the payment environment is secure. When submitting your payment information, make sure that the website address begins with https://, which indicates encryption. The connection is not encrypted if the address starts with http://.
What should you do if you think you’ve been the victim of online fraud?
If you don’t receive your purchase and the online shop doesn’t react to your inquiries, you can ask your credit card company to refund the money for a purchase made by credit card. You may also be able to request a refund on debit card payments, if your debit card company has committed to this in their terms and conditions or otherwise. You can use our Complaint Assistant when drawing up a complaint.
Consumer Advisory Services provides assistance with problems related to online sales. When ordering from Europe, the European Consumer Centre in Finland can provide advice.
It may be difficult to get your money back from online shops outside the EU if you didn’t use a credit card to pay for your purchase. Similarly, consumer authorities cannot help in the same way as they can when you are dealing with an online shop inside the EU area.