Minister warns consumers about the dangers of online shopping

Minister for Fair Trading, Virginia Judge, has urged consumers to be careful when shopping online after over 3,000 complaints were received in 2009 about online trading.

The latest NSW Fair Trading figures highlighted that 3,396 complaints about online trading were received in 2009, including 230 complaints about online auctions. This is an increase of 33.5 per cent from 2008.

“I am very concerned about the number of consumers who are being caught out while shopping online,” said Judge.

“Shopping online is easy and convenient but there are major risks associated with purchasing products over the internet.”

Judge discussed some of the most common complaints received by Fair Trading over 2009.

“More than half of the complaints received related to non or partial delivery of goods, faults or damages and products not matching their descriptions,” she said.

“While 20 per cent of complaints related directly to refunds, overcharging and other money issues.”

Some of the tips Judge recommended consumers take when shopping online included, doing your research, checking if the company is an established and reputable business, checking a site’s refund and return policy, looking for hidden costs, and not providing any personal details to businesses you don’t completely trust.

“Consumers need to be aware of the pitfalls of buying online, so they can avoid scams and costly mistakes,” she said.

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