Online shopping and mail order

Before you buy online

Before you buy online you may want to check your local shops to see if they can offer a good price and deliver the goods you need.

Ask around for recommendations from friends and family, or search on the internet for reviews or blogs.

Try to use reputable, well-known retail websites.

Research the online seller

For smaller or lesser known online sellers, look for a phone number and physical address and call them if you have doubts.  

You should also do all of the following:

  • read internet reviews on the online retailer by typing their name into a search engine
  • check the seller’s policy on returns, refunds, shipping, insurance and warranties, especially if they are based outside of Australia
  • check the website has a secure payment system
  • phone or email the trader to ask about their goods and services.

Before you buy an item

You should check all of the following:

  • postage and packaging costs
  • refund and return policies
  • if there is a warranty or money-back guarantee - get it in writing if possible
  • if the goods are insured in transit and who pays for insurance
  • any conditions in the fine print
  • confirm when the item will be delivered or set a delivery date
  • if the trader has a street address as well as post office box and phone number, this will make it easier to contact them if there is a problem.

You should keep a record of your transaction by printing or taking a screenshot of your order confirmation, invoice or tax receipt.

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Last updated: 30 June 2015

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