Online Shopping

Risks with Online Shopping

Giving your money to an unknown merchant somewhere in the world certainly does sound risky.
There are many ways to manage the process safely to ensure you get what you want and with minimal financial risk.
Some suggestions to reduce risk are made at the bottom of this page.

Why Shop Online?

Certainly you can save time in travel to shops, you can access products from all around the world.
Online shopping has also made it easier for the niche or artisan producer to reach global markets so there are many more interesting products to see.
But one of the greatest benefits to the purchaser when shopping online is the ability to comparison shop.

How Does it Work?

The internet provides an opportunity for shopping information to be on a website.
Just like any other website a shopping site is on a computer (webserver) located anywhere in the world.
Your internet connection can take you to these sites to allow you to see what is available and the prices.



  • Search for the type of product you want. (Use Google in a browser or similar)
  • Compare prices and performance of suitable products
  • Check reviews of products you might buy
  • Search again for your preferred product to get best total price (cost + delivery)

Products here can be goods, services, software, tickets, spare parts…


Once the product or service is identified you can move on to purchasing.
Purchasing could be from a 'real' shop even though the research has been done online.
Often though even 'real' shops have online services so you can make your purchase online too.

  • Decide on the preferred online shop
  • Check reviews of the online shop if not used before
  • Be careful to check if warranties are for Australia
  • Usually you need to create an account or use a 'guest' account if not purchased before
  • Consider what delivery method will suit you:
    • Deliver to door / mail
    • Deliver to door with insurance
    • Pick up at a retail store
  • Pay with a credit card, bank transfer or online payment like Paypal
  • Print a copy of your order or check it has been sent to your email (proof of payment)
  • Note the likely delivery date in cases where signature is required on delivery
  • Ensure that a safe location is available if you opt to have items left at the door

Watch out for these concerns!

  • Don’t shop with websites that do not have https:// in their web address (this is a secure lock)
  • Don’t make purchases that seem too good to be true
  • Be careful with ‘grey’ importers, good price(?) but no local warranty
  • Don’t save your credit card details ‘for next time’ on a website unless you really trust the merchant and you know you will come back
  • Don’t load software from uncertain sources. Use app stores
  • Don’t forget that you can still get a refund if goods are damaged or defective from reputable merchants
  • Don’t forget to check your bank statements to confirm correct payments
  • Don’t forget to check Scamwatch (click here)

Here are some of the terms used in online shopping explained in simple language.
Click to download

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