So it’s the 21st century and everyone shops online. If you’re reading this, the chances that you buy stuff online from at least one company is about equal to the chances that you showered yesterday.
From lottery scams to Nigerian Prince email scams, the rise of technology has also brought the rise of internet-savvy scammers.
Here’re 3 golden rules to avoid being the next victim when shopping online.
- Always check testimonials of the online store you’re buying from
Now, this may seem like a no-brainer but if you’re an avid online shopper who buys from too many websites, sometimes you get complacent and skip this step.
True personal story: Last Christmas, I ordered some presents about two weeks before X’mas from a new site that I came across. Long story short, the items never arrived and I had to go through a lengthy PayPal dispute resolution process (and many angry messages sent through their terribly-designed customer feedback form). I suspect they design their website’s contact form so poorly so that people just give up trying to get their money back.
While I eventually got my money back, it wasn’t worth going through the process at the expense of my blood pressure readings. More importantly, my hands were empty when Christmas arrived. LOL.
After realizing I was scammed, I did a quick search and lo and behold – there have been HUNDREDS of complaints about that company that I’d have easily discovered had I bothered to spend 30 seconds googling before keying in my credit card info. In fact, their own Facebook page has hundreds (if not thousands) of comments left by fuming customers – so many that they don’t even bother hiding or deleting.
Prevention is better than cure, so learn from my lesson.
A reputable website/seller should have at least some sort of testimonial on their own website (or other external reviews elsewhere). For instance, if you navigate to our homepage where we sell fabulous fashion accessories and jewellery, you’ll see this:
- Always check the refund policy
Unless the cost of the items you’re buying is insignificant (or you’re as rich as Donald Trump), it helps to be educated on the refund policy.
Similarly, an honest and transparent online store would lay out the terms and conditions clearly. So do spend 3 minutes to read the information on the web pages. If you check out the FAQs section on our site, you’ll essentially see this:
Make sure the instructions are clear and the process is hassle-free and simple to execute. Especially if you’re buying expensive goods, it’s always helpful for your peace of mind to know that the shop offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
- Test the customer service’s responsiveness
Here’s an unconventional tip that I like to use. Say, I am considering buying a piece of jewellery, a pair of shoes, or whatever. I’d deliberately test the responsiveness of the company’s customer service. It helps if you’ve a genuine enquiry, otherwise just make up a random question just to see how fast and how well they reply.
If a company takes very long (to someone as impatient as me, that means over 24 hours but you can give them 48 hours) to respond, or gives an unsatisfactory reply – be wary. This should throw up a red flag. Some of these companies may be dodgy (not all, but I wouldn’t take the chance) and you’d be advised to stay away.
Also, companies which make it hard for you to even contact them (i.e. you have to search high and low to dig out their email address, phone number or contact form) give off an unreliable vibe.
Bonus: See how they respond to complaints
Companies which take customer service seriously don’t treat customers as dispensable. Instead, you should be their Number 1 priority and they’d treat you as though you were their only customer.
Businesses, just like humans, are fallible and they make mistakes occasionally, especially when they deal with a large volume of orders on a daily basis. It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.
We ship to all parts of the globe every day, and inevitably we occasionally make mistakes. One such rare occasion happened recently. A customer received his pair of Romeo Juliet couple rings. To his and our disappointment, the engraving he had requested was mistakably omitted. We at Lupine & Co. are ourselves customers of other businesses (who doesn't shop online in the 21st century?), and we know how frustrating it can be when companies fail to deliver. That's why we strive to always over-deliver and when mistakes occur, we accept full responsibility and do our best to put things right for you. We promise that you'll never have to launch the PayPal dispute resolution process because we'll make each and every one of you happy. So for that particular case, we immediately issued a reshipment of a new pair of rings at no cost to the customer and as an apology for the waiting time, we're including a complimentary gift for our affected friend. When you shop with us, you can have your mind at peace because we treat you like how we'd treat our friends if they buy from us.