Buying something online? Read this first

Posted at 04/16/2012 3:26 PM | Updated as of 04/16/2012 3:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Are you planning to buy that summer dress or second-hand camera sold online? You may want to do a bit of research before using your credit card.

Several websites today claim to offer huge discounts and special deals to get credit card details from Internet users, warned Rose Egmilan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the National Capital Region.

Speaking to ANC, Egmilan said online shoppers should only buy from reputable stores and resellers, and look for third-party seals to verify if a website is not a scam.

“Because this is online, this is virtual, a new marketplace, it’s really hard to determine whether it’s legitimate or not,” she said. “You have to do research as far as the site is concerned. You have to study whether there are complaints.”

“Take a second look, research. Baka fly by night lang ‘yan. Especially if the offer is too good to be true. They usually use big discounts to entice consumers. Think about it, where is this discount coming from?” she added.

Egmilan believes that transactions are much safer when done face-to-face, saying that one must not make a payment without seeing or receiving the product.

In the case of products ordered from abroad, she said the reseller must at least have a proper courier or delivery service to ensure that these are brought safely to the customer’s doorstep.

“If that’s the requirement (advance payment), you have to rethink, tama ba ito? The transaction has not been consummated yet,” she said. “Dapat ‘wag ganun. Kasi ‘pag nakita mo naman sa mall, ‘pag nagbayad ka, andiyan na ang produkto.”

Here are Egmilan’s other tips when it comes to online shopping:

  • Look for signs that that website protects your personal data (e.g. “s” after “http” in the web address of the page, a tiny closed padlock in the address bar or on the lower right corner of the window)
  • Search the web for feedback forums to find out people’s experience with the seller.
  • Make sure you have the seller’s contact information in case you have to locate them later.
  • Be wary of notorious usernames, modus operandi and bogus identities mentioned by scam victims online.
  • Never provide your credit card or bank information unless you are paying for something.

Meanwhile, Egmilan said those who have complaints about their online shopping experience may call the DTI call center at (02) 751-3330 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

They may also visit the DTI-NCR website at http://www.dtincr.ph/cpapp/index.php.