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Buyer’s Guide

Here are some tips to make sure your online buying experience runs as smoothly as possible and some advice for when things go awry. Keep all correspondence with any online seller until the transaction has been satisfactorily concluded.

Before committing to the purchase

  • Ensure you’re buying exactly what you want. For example,
    • Are you after a hardcover or paperback edition?
    • If you're buying a text book, be aware of International Editions being advertised under the full retail version - carefully check the ISBN and description on the vendor’s page and ensure the product you're buying matches your expectations.
    • Can your DVD player play the DVD you’re buying?
    • Ensure you’re buying a DVD rather than a CD or vice versa.
  • Confirm the shipping price and dates are as you expect:
    • Is the item large? Does it attract a shipping surcharge beyond your expectations?
    • Can they ship the item within the time frames you expect?
  • Confirm the currency you’re paying in.
    • Some sites may offer you the ability to charge in different currencies. Make sure you choose the best currency for you and understand the fees for converting currencies.
  • Check for email addresses or contact forms for the seller, to ensure you have a way to communicate if things go wrong.
  • If you’re not familiar with the vendor, check them out on sites such as Reseller Ratings, Not Good Enough and Whirlpool. Please be wary of the fact that most people rarely bother writing about their positive experiences, so the feedback on these sites is mostly negative. If you’ve had a good experience with an online store, please make sure to let others know.

After buying

  • Look for a receipt number or confirmation email to confirm the purchase.
  • Has your credit card been charged immediately, or will it be charged when the item has shipped?
  • Confirm you’ve been charged the appropriate amount, in the currency you expect.

When things go wrong

  • Keep track of all correspondence.
  • Communicate quickly and clearly with the vendor explaining the issue.
  • If you have not received the items or have received the wrong item or have been charged an incorrect amount you may be able to contact the bank which issued your credit card to have the charge reversed. This should be a last resort. Ensure the vendor is aware you are considering contacting your bank.