General Guide for Consumers
out an online business
It can be difficult judging the quality of a business from thousands
of miles away. To determine a website’s reliability, you
should rely on various factors, such as recommendations from family
and friends or the site’s membership in a trustmark or trust
website for the business's contact details (physical address,
including the country, and email or phone). If something goes
wrong with your transaction, you will have the information you
need to make contact with the business.
the business provides access to all its terms and conditions of
sales - its refund policy, its security and privacy information.
any conditions that place limits on sales - for example: goods
may not be available for delivery outside of the country; a certain
quantity of goods may have to be ordered; or certain goods cannot
be ordered by minors (wine sales for example).
may not experience any problems transacting online, take time
to check for information on the website about the business's internal
complaints procedure or mechanism.
you know what you are paying for?
Check that the business supplies clear and accurate information
about the goods or services it is offering for sale. This should
include description, price information, any limitations on purchases
(for example prohibits sales to minors or has minimum or maximum
prices disclose what currency they are in.
the website discloses or alerts you to requirements to pay taxes
or duty on any purchase.
costs should be itemised separately from the cost for the goods.
and refunds conditions
Check for information on the website about the business's policy
on cancellations, returns or refunds. If you make a purchase,
we suggest you print off a copy of the returns policy for future
If paying for the goods or services on-line check to see if the
business has secure payment facilities available. Check also whether
the browser is secure and encrypts personal and payment information.
For example, look for a closed padlock symbol or information stating
that information is encrypted, or a website address that begins
If you send
personal information (such as a credit card number) through an
non-secure website, or even through electronic mail, someone may
intercept that information and misuse it.
As a payment cardholder, you may have some protections against
the unauthorized use of your payment card. Many countries have
laws that limit your liability for unauthorized transactions,
and some card issuers provide additional protections voluntarily.
These protections are implemented in a variety of ways. Click
here to learn more about the types of protections that may be
available to you.
All businesses will require information from you to process an
The statement should advise what information is collected, how
it will be used, and provide you with an opportunity to refuse
having your information sold or shared with others. You should
think twice before doing business with a website that will not
respect your privacy.
Before concluding your transaction, a website should provide a
confirmation page so that you can identify the goods or services
you wish to purchase, identify and correct any errors, and modify
your order if necessary.
should also allow you to retain a complete record of the transaction
after you have concluded it.
to do if something goes wrong
Step 1: Contact
the business with the details of your complaint.
Step 2: File
a complaint with government consumer protection agencies
Step 3: Try
to resolve your complaint
is the exchange of goods and services for money. In olden days,
there was a form of commerce called the barter system in which
goods were exchanged in lieu of other goods or services. By the
time paper money was introduced, it's use revolutionized the way
the commerce was conducted. In recent years, commerce is also
being conducted via electronic medium like the Internet. This
commerce is called eCommerce.
commerce (eCommerce) is an integration of communication services,
data management, and security mechanisms that allows organizations
to exchange information about the sale of goods and services,
Services support the transfer of information from the buyer to
the seller electronically.
is the exchange and storing of data in a uniform format to facilitate
easy exchange of information.
authenticate the source of information and guarantee the integrity
and privacy of information.
In other words,
eCommerce involves marketing, retailing, customer service, banking,
billing, corporate sector purchasing, secure distribution of data,
and other value-added services over the Internet.
Of Electronic Commerce
Electronic commerce can be categorized into four categories:
the first two categories are the most popular models of eCommerce:
In this model, commerce is conducted between a consumer, such
as a home user on a PC, and a business. As an example, to buy
books or CDs, the consumer accesses the business' Internet site
and makes purchases.
one can purchase music cassettes and CDs from the web site www.planetmonline.com
In the above
you select the cassettes from a wide range that is available and
then eventually pay online. This is a very convenient exercise,
which will help save time and provide variety.
In this model, commerce is conducted between two businesses. It
includes trading goods like business subscriptions, professional
services, and wholesale dealing. Sometimes, business may exist
between virtual companies, neither of which may have any physical
In this model, commerce is conducted between two consumers. This
can be seen in auction bidding houses. In this example, commerce
is conducted between a consumer who is auctioning and consumers
who are bidding for it. The consumer who is auctioning decides
the price of the product. The consumers who are bidding analyze
the product and decide how much they value it.
In this model, commerce is conducted between a consumer and a
business. The model is still in its evolving stage. This may come
up as a model in which the goods are produced and the price of
the product would be dictated by the consumer rather than the
supplier. This may revolutionize the way businesses are conducted
over the Web, or even otherwise.