Shopping online can be fun. There are lots of discounts, all the products are available in single place, in most of the cases you can compare products very well, there is no rush and most of the sites offer full return in case you don’t like a product.
But at the same time, there is also a slight risk of fraud. The person from who you are buying something is a virtual entity and before you pay the money - even in the case of the cash on delivery - you do so before actually seeing the product in real. So how can you avoid fraudsters and minimise the risk while shopping online? Follow these steps.
Buy from "official" sellers
In India, websites like Amazon and Flipkart are market places and because they have foreign investors these websites can’t actually sell products in India. Instead they can only provide the market place for other sellers. Yet, not all sellers on these websites are equal. A couple of them are almost like "official sellers" even though they are not actually Amazon or Flipkart.
In the case of Flipkart, this seller is WS Retail. Buying something from WS Retail is almost 100 per cent safe. So when you are buying a product from Flipkart, make sure you get it from WS Retail. Though on most occasions, the prices of WS Retail are also "official", which means on higher side. But a premium of a few per cent in price is worth paying for safer and better shopping experience. WS Retail is also the only seller on Flipkart that offers 30-day return guarantee. The others offers 7-day or 10-day return guarantee.
On Amazon, a similar seller is called CloudTail.
On Jabong and Myntra, most of the stuff is sold by official seller. But both also have a lot of products sold by third-parties. As much as possible, buy goods directly sold by Myntra and Jabong. Usually these have faster shipping times. Both websites make the identity of the seller in the product description. So watch that, especially if you want the product delivered with a day or two.
Buy goods that are already in warehouse
Amazon, FlipKart and SnapDeal have their warehouses where goods, even those by third-party sellers, are stored. Once a consumers buys these goods, the shipping process is handled not by seller but by Amazon or Flipkart. If possible buy the goods that are already in warehouses managed by e-commerce companies. On Amazon, these products carry a tag called Amazon Fullfilled. On FlipKart, Flipkart Advantage while on the SnapDeal the tag is SafeShip.
Seller rating is important
Before you hit the buy button, check the seller rating. This is especially true for websites like eBay and Snapdeal. Ideally, you should buy from sellers who have done lots of transactions, say something 50 or more, and have a rating of more than 90 per cent or four stars. A good rating means the seller is efficient and is doing business in a professional and serious way.
On eBay use PaisaPay
While cash-on-delivery is a great way to shop, it is not always the safest, especially for eBay transactions. On eBay, if you use PaisaPay, the seller is not paid until you have got your goods and are satisfied with what you have got. If there is some problem, eBay withholds the money, steps in and tries to resolve the problem. This means your money is safe and in case the seller can’t satisfy you, there is an option for you to cancel the transaction and get the money back. But this works only if you use PaisaPay. If you choose to pay seller directly, eBay can’t help you much.
If it is too good to be true, avoid it
We all are familiar with the online shopping horror stories. In most cases, it is something like this: A person sees an expensive product selling for a ridiculously low price. He or she orders it. When the product is delivered it turns out to be a few pieces of stone or a plastic or something similar.
If you come across a deal that is too good to be true, it probably is. The only way you should go for extraordinarily good deals is if they are offered by reliable sellers or official sellers. If it is from someone on eBay who has a seller rating of 50% and has done only 20 transactions, avoid it.