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Shopping online? Do your homework first

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

With Christmas approaching, buying presents online can be a quick and convenient alternative to the traditional shopping expedition.

However, do your homework, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says.

"Shopping from the comfort of your home is a definite plus, but there are risks involved that everyone should consider," MBIE consumer protection manager Mark Hollingsworth said.

"It's hard to assess the quality of products without physically seeing them and it's harder again to judge the trustworthiness of a business just by visiting their website."

Mr Hollingsworth suggested looking for online reviews of the business or asking around to see if anyone else has bought from the trader.

He said common issues included goods not being delivered or being delivered well outside the predicted timeframe, and products received that are of a lesser value or differ from their description.

People should also keep an eye on exchange rates and delivery costs when buying from overseas.

"Shopping online can be a very handy way to purchase gifts this Christmas, but know the risks and do your homework," Mr Hollingsworth said.

"Is the brand well known and reliable? Does the company website provide contact details and offer a secure payment system? Check their return policies, and terms and conditions to make sure you're happy with them."

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