With the current global pandemic, many of us have moved our shopping online. Whether it’s for groceries, clothing or electronics, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the experience and avoid potential issues.

6 tips to be a smarter online shopper

1. Read reviews. Because online shopping opens us up to businesses around the world, it’s very important to do some research to find out if the business you’re dealing with has a good reputation. Read our tips on how to become better at reading reviews.

2. Beware of red flags. You may be putting yourself at risk when you shop online if you don’t know what red flags to watch out for. If the site looks unprofessional or if the contact information is missing, you could be dealing with a sketchy company, which could put you at risk. Here are 5 red flags that the site you’re shopping on may not be trustworthy.

3. Read the fine print when it comes to returns and refunds. Did you know that in BC there are no laws that deal directly with refund, exchange and return policies? This means that retail businesses can set their own policies when it comes to customer returns. Some stores may have super flexible return policies, and others may not. With COVID-19, some stores may have changed or updated their policies to reduce the risk of infection for customers and staff. Read the fine print carefully and make sure you understand what you are agreeing to when you make an online purchase. Learn more about returns and refund during COVID-19 here.

4. Confirm purchase? Make sure you see these 4 things first! Before you confirm, the business must provide some details about the purchase for you. You should have the chance to review the details and correct any mistakes you may have made. At the checkout, you should see:

  • A detailed description of the goods or services
  • The currency
  • The delivery details, including the shipping method and place of delivery
  • The cancellation, return, exchange and refund policies, if any

5. Know your rights if your online order never arrives. Are you still waiting for your online order to arrive? It can be challenging to know what to do when you’ve paid for something and it seems to be stuck in limbo. You may have some rights under BC law. How to get a refund if your online order never arrives’

6. Know what you can do when there’s an issue with quality. A quality of service issue is difficult to define because people have different ideas of what they consider to be good service or good quality. You might feel as though the quality of the good or service that you received did not meet the minimum standards of what you were expecting. If you feel dissatisfied with a product or service that you have paid for, you may be experiencing an issue that falls under this category. Read more about what your options are when you ordered something online and the quality just isn’t right.

Did you like this? You might like these posts too!

How to get a refund if your online order never arrives
Shopping online? 5 red flags to watch out for
Confirm purchase? Make sure you see these 4 things first!
The art of reading reviews
5 things to consider before you sign up for a meal kit service

Look through all of our COVID-19 related information on our website.

Where do we fit in?

Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca