Buying online - check the conditions

Shopping from your armchair can be a lot more appealing than trawling the high street but how can you make sure you’re not being ripped off? Try and choose a website of a retailer that you know (or one that has been recommended to you by friends). An attractive website is not always an indication that the company (or sole trader) behind it will abide by the law and give you good service. If you are not familiar with the company, use a search engine to check them out. It’s a good idea to see what their customers say about them.

Commercial Solicitor Karen Edwards says, "Always check that the website displays the full trading address of the company – they could be based outside the UK. This could make it difficult if anything should go wrong and you may end up having to sue someone in their own country because the ‘contract’ made between you and the company you are buying from is governed by the law of the country that the goods are sold from." Many people buy from overseas companies every day with no problems at all but if you are buying from a company outside the UK and your purchase is more than £50 it makes sense to use a credit card. This should give you an extra layer of protection (subject of course to the terms and conditions of the credit card company).

Under UK law if you purchase from an overseas supplier while you are in the UK you will have some protection, but it may be difficult to recover your money and costs. Do check the postage charges as well, these can be very high which makes your ‘bargain’ much less appealing. Always check that the website has an encryption facility as this is more likely to make your payment secure. A padlock will be displayed on the payment form and the web address may start with ‘https://’ rather than the usual ‘http://’, showing that it is a secure site. Stay safe and happy shopping!

Our Commercial team based in Christchurch also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Karen or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.