Online Shopping: 10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

Have you ever bought a product or service from the internet?

Yes? Me too. You’re not alone…

Some of the reasons why most people are shopping online are: they can buy anything at anytime because Internet shopping is available 24 hours, all the time.

You can shop from the convenience of your home. You can avoid traffic and crowding at the malls.

Online shopping is one of the best ways to locate hard-to-find items not available in your local stores.

Whatever you buy can be delivered by mail to your house.

Most online stores and companies provide excellent values and discount prices because they do not have to pay the overhead of owning a physical business that will cost them insurance, employee pay, taxes and more.

VeriSign, Inc. says that online sales recorded during the prime holidays shopping season was about $2.2 billion dollars.

According to a study by Forrester Research Company, by 2010, online sales will reach $331 billion dollars.

More consumers are shopping online today than a year ago. The range of products they buy are many: software, hardware, electronics, digital products, music, toys, e-books, books, programs, DVD, flowers, pets, jewelry, clothes, air tickets, insurance, cars, prescription drugs, comic books, games, gifts and more.

They are flocking to buy from online bookstores, software stores, online computer stores, target stores, pet stores, liquor stores, drug stores, music stores, furniture stores, fabric stores, the Disney store, outlet stores, surplus stores, discount stores, thrift stores, gift stores, candy stores, lingerie stores, sports stores, video stores, sex stores, department stores, game stores, clothing stores and others.

Be a smart and savvy online shopper. Shop wisely and safely.

Here are a few tips to help you do your online shopping safely.

(1) Shop at the websites of companies that you know and are popular offline.

If you’re not sure of the company, request their catalog or brochure first.

Be sure they have a physical address and phone, as well as an e-mail address. Call them and speak to a human being first.

Check with the yellow pages and the Better Business Bureaus to be sure the company is legitimate.

Read all the fine print and the refund policy before you place an order.

You may read about product reviews and what other shoppers have to say about a company at:

http://www.epinions.com, http://www.consumersearch.com, http://www.productopia.com, http://www.deja.com

Here are some internet shopping agents’ sites:

[http://www.comparenet.com], [http://vo.infospace.com], http://bottomdollar.com

To read about reviews on shopping stores, regarding ease of use, pricing, selection and service go to:

http://www.gomez.com, http://www.bizrate.com , http://www.ratingwonders.com

To read about web business frauds and get help to avoid being a victim, go to:

http://www.fraud.org , http://www.bbbonline.org , http://www.webassured.com

(2) Keep a record of all your purchases.

Most people are by nature disorganized and unable to keep records. Learn to keep records of all your online purchases. This will help you keep track of your spending and shopping.

Print all receipts or save them on your computer in a folder named “receipts”.

This will help you locate orders that you placed but were never delivered.

The more organized you are the less negative online shopping experience you’ll have.

(3) Keep all your important personal information safe.

Don’t give them to strangers who may call you over the phone or request them by e-mail.

Personal information includes: your address, e-mail address, phone number, social security number, drivers license, age, information about your family.

Don’t give them to any stranger and, also, teach your children not to do so.

(4) Keep your passwords private.

When creating a password, avoid using phone numbers, birth dates or social security numbers.

Be creative. Use a password that is not easy for others to guess, and yet not easy for you to forget.

Change your passwords often. Use phrases to help you remember them.

Don’t disclose passwords to anyone.

(5) Use a credit (but never debit) card to make your payment.

Be sure to keep all credit card payment receipts. Check your credit card account statements to be able to spot any unauthorized charges.

When you buy certain goods and services from some companies, sometimes they will keep billing you thereafter. So scrutinize your statements. If you see a charge you’re not sure of, call the billing merchant and check it out.

Keep your credit cards secure.

Avoid making a payment using your credit card on a public computer.

Report any lost credit cards immediately and have them cancelled. Don’t give anyone that you don’t know your credit card number.

(6) Read the return policy before placing an order.

Be sure that you read and understand the return policy and warranty.

(7) Read and understand the company’s privacy statement (or policy).

A privacy statement tells you how and why a business is collecting your information, and how that information may be used.

You may find the company’s privacy statement (or policy) at the very bottom of the home page or inside their “Terms & Conditions” or “Terms of Service” (TOS).

(8) Use a secure browser and server.

Be sure whatever browser you’re using complies with the industry’s security standards, such as secure sockets layer (SSL).

This security protocol scrambles or encrypts the personal information you send over the Internet to ensure your transaction is secured.

How do you know if the server is secure where you’re making a payment?

If a Web site is using secure technology, its Web address begins with https and a tiny locked padlock appears at the bottom right corner of the screen.

(9) Check out a few stores and compare prices before buying.

Look for hidden costs such as shipping and handling.

(10) Use Yahoo Search Engine for all your searches.

Yahoo continues to be, not only the largest online company, but also, the best Search Engine.

Unlike the other popular Search engine, which keeps companies in a sandbox for many months and refuses to give them rankings for many months, Yahoo is pro business and gives immediate rankings to companies and business.

Their search result is also excellent. That may be one reason why 60% of people online (including me) love Yahoo.

Also, they have the most reliable and the best hosting service in the world.

For these reasons, I strongly recommend you use Yahoo to do all your searches.

Happy and safe online shopping.

Warmly,

I-key Benney

Tips to Buying Hair Extensions Online

Most people will buy their hair extensions online because they are more convenient, they are affordable and they don’t have to go from shop to shop to find the right colour and style they need based on their natural hair. Buying online can save you time and money in the long run, giving you access to a complete selection, ensuring you find exactly what you need based on your unique hair needs and budget.

The first step is to start searching online, you want to choose a number of blonde hair extensions suppliers that are going to offer you extensions you believe you can rely on moving forward. Don’t jump at the first supplier you find, rather shop around to find the ones you feel have the best deals and reputations in the industry, while shipping to your door within the shortest space of time.

Before you make any purchases you are going to want to match the colour of the hair extensions to your natural colour to ensure that they blend seamlessly together to provide you with a natural and perfect finished look. You can choose extensions slightly darker or lighter, having a tone lighter or darker can provide you with a highlighted effect, though you have to be very careful with your selection to ensure that it always looks natural and doesn’t look like false hair that you have had place or clipped in for the day.

The biggest decision you are going to have to make is whether to choose natural or synthetic hair extensions. Natural are made from human hair. This hair can be coloured, straightened and styles. Synthetic is false hair, often used in making dolls hair and wigs, it looks natural, but it cannot be styled or coloured, so the colour you see is what you get. The good news is that synthetic extensions are cheaper than the natural hair extensions.

Your next decision is to identify the best choice for you on whether you are looking for a temporary extensions you can use now and again to create a different look or whether you are looking for a more permanent hair extension solution that will provide you with volume and length on a daily basis.

Clip in extensions are the ideal choice if you are looking for an easy to use and temporary solution that you know will not cause unwelcome damage to your hair. Micro rings on the other hand, are placed into the hair and left in for long periods of time, this is a semi permanent solution which can be adjusted over time. There are reports where the micro ring hair extensions have caused damage to natural hair, which is why it’s advisable to have them put in by a professional to reduce the risk of this happening to you.

Price should never be a deciding factor, in fact you should use price to help you identify the best deals without compromising on quality. Companies that charge too much or too little compared to the others for blonde hair extensions, for example, should be crossed off your list.

Focus on companies that provide a no hassle money back guarantee. This enables you to buy with complete confidence knowing that in the event the extensions that arrive at your door are poor quality, they can be returned without any fuss.

Finally, always check that the hair extensions specialist company will offer you the fastest dispatch and delivery times. You want to get your new hair as soon as possible so you can start playing around and getting used to putting them in, taking them out and wearing them on a daily basis.

7 Tips for Buying Urns Online

In the past, purchasing an urn involved going to the funeral home, which handled the funeral arrangements of your beloved family member, and picking one from their display selection. Now, since the advent of the Internet, one can simply type in the search term “urns” in any search engine and find literally hundreds of companies selling a wide variety of cremation urns online. Purchasing an urn from an Internet company can be painless and done from the comfort and privacy of your home. Yet, with such an enormous selection of urn vendors, how does one determine which vendor to purchase from?

It is difficult if not impossible to know who is genuinely interested in helping the customer and who is out to make a buck. These 7 tips are designed to help you evaluate the companies on the Internet selling cremation urns. Hopefully the information will help make this part of the process a little easier for you and your family.

1. Research the Urn Vendor

You want to deal with a business that is experienced and ethical. Invest a little time to educate yourself about the vendor you are considering doing business with.

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are they members of the Better Business Bureau?
  • If so, have they had any complaints?

Look within their website for an About Us or Company page that offers more information about them. You can also contact them by phone or email and question them.

Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they are a member and if they have had any complaints for the last three years. Members of the BBB Online Reliability program will prominently display the BBB seal on their website.

Be skeptical of vendors that do not fully disclose simple yet important information such as contact phone number, email address, and where they are located.

2. Examine Their Customer Service

Good customer service is shown by being focused on helping you instead of just getting the sale. They need to be oriented toward fulfilling your needs and not theirs.

  • Can they be contacted by phone or email?
  • Do they appear knowledgeable about their products?
  • Are they helpful in answering your questions?
  • If contacted after hours did you receive a reply within a reasonable amount of time the following business day?

It is more comforting to talk to an actual person and this should be possible during regular business hours. Contact them with any questions you have or just to see how they handle your call. You can learn a lot just by interaction with the company before you make the purchase.

You want to feel comfortable when discussing various details with them and they need to be helpful.

3. You Need a Guarantee

You want some kind of satisfaction guarantee especially with this type of product. If you get the urn and decide you don’t like it, you should be able to return it as long as it is in resalable condition.

  • Does the vendor offer a money back guarantee?
  • Do they accept returns?
  • If they accept returns, is there a restocking fee?

If your urn has been personalized or if it is custom made, then it is understandable if the company cannot accept a return just because of a change in heart. However, if it is damaged upon arrival or they personalized it with the wrong information they should replace it at no charge to you.

4. A Privacy Policy

With the amount of identity theft going around, you want to make absolutely certain your personal information is protected by the vendor you are dealing with.

  • Is the vendor’s privacy policy easily accessible?
  • Does it clearly outline what information is gathered?
  • Do they inform you how your personal information is handled?

Certainly you have heard how many Internet users are having their information given or sold to spammers. Take the necessary steps to ensure it does not happen to you.

5. Secure Payment Processing

You’ve taken the necessary precautions to ensure your credit is healthy. Don’t ruin it by making an online purchase from an unsecured website, which in turn may lead to fraudulent charges.

  • Does the website offer secure encryption?
  • What types of security measures are offered?
  • Do they have a security guarantee?

If a company is asking for your credit card information over the Internet, then it is very important that they have secure payment processing.

On the webpage where you submit your credit card information make sure the webpage url begins with https://, whereas there is an ‘s’ at the end of the http and a closed security lock at the bottom right hand side of the window. If these elements are not visible, the page is not secure.

Check the vendor’s website for a security guarantee and what measures are taken to protect your credit card information.

6. Watch Out for Hidden Charges

Most people dislike when they’ve decided to purchase an item only to find there are hidden costs such as delivery charges or other unexpected costs. Look more closely at the bottom line price and be aware of additional charges.

  • Is delivery included in the price or is it separate?
  • If buying cremation jewelry, do they charge extra for the chain?
  • Is their pricing easy to understand?

After you’ve added the items to your cart and are ready to check out, look to make sure no additional charges have been added that were not previously selected.

If you are purchasing cremation jewelry, take note that many vendors charge a lower price for the pendant and then add an additional charge for the chain. This is to create the illusion that their prices a lower whereas the total price is higher than the one that got your initial attention.

7. Multiple Payment Options

Don’t get stuck having to pay for the urn with a credit card when you would rather pay by check. Make sure the vendor has different options in place for making payment that fit your preference.

  • Do they take all major credit cards?
  • Does the vendor accept check payment or money orders
  • Can you mail or fax in your payment?
  • Are you able to phone in your order?

Most individuals will choose to pay online with a credit card, but a good number of individuals are more comfortable calling in their order or of their choice or using a different form of payment altogether.

Make sure the company can accommodate your preferred method of payment.

These 7 tips should help you to select the vendor from which you will purchase your urn from. Even then, sometimes the simple things such as visual elements (professional website appearance, user friendly interface, good product images) or resources of information will lend to the trustworthiness and credibility of a company.

In the very end what it boils down to is asking yourself: “Do I feel comfortable purchasing from this company?” and hopefully this article helped you to find that answer.

Tips For Buying Auto Parts Online

The Internet is a wonderful place for buying many things. You will often have access to options that you never knew existed. You will also have many more choices and can often find a better deal on items online than in a brick and mortar store. One area of items that are advantageous to buy online are auto parts. With the ability to search millions of websites and many different stores, you may be much more likely to find the right part for even the most obscure type of vehicle online than in the offline world. You may also find a better price at the same time.

Here are a few tips for buying auto parts online:

Major Stores

Pretty much every major auto parts store has an online version, where you can search their entire nationwide database for parts availability, order the part and have it sent to you wherever you are. It’s highly convenient and makes it easy to compare prices. Some major chains that have sites include, NAPA Online, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse, AutoZone, CARQUEST, Pep Boys and many more. Nearly all of them offer online search and shopping options. Some of them even offer a low price guarantee on certain parts and provide you with news, information, rebate deals and special online only deals.

Manuals & Auto Repair Information

There are many resources online that may help you install your auto part. Check out 10w40 for manuals and information for many makes and models of vehicles.

Auto Forums

You can find information on your make or model of vehicle as well as ask questions and get answers about repairing and maintaining it. You will also be able to talk with other auto enthusiasts. Some popular auto forums are Automotive Forums, AutoForums, CarForums, Autoforum Universe and the forums at Automotive. You may be able to get advice on where the best place to get parts is for your specific make and model. There are also forums available for specific makers which should also have excellent information on where to get parts.

Books

You can easily order any of the auto repair manuals you need online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This may be more convenient for people who don’t have a bookstore or auto parts store near them. The most popular and reliable publishers of auto manuals are Chilton’s and Hayne’s. Buying the manual online, you may be able to save money by comparing prices at numerous book sellers, you can use AddAll to do this.

Auctions

Auction are a great place to search for your auto parts and eBay Motors is where you will want to begin your auction search. Currently there are a staggering 546190 listings on eBay Motors under Car & Truck Parts alone. You will want to drill down to the specific category for your desired part, then try to narrow the search under that category.

More Tips

Make use of the many price comparison search engines, coupon code sites and be sure to watch out for shipping costs. Some sites, such as Autopartswarehouse offer free shipping, so be sure to take advantage of those offers.

In summary, buying auto parts online has many advantages, from better availability, to the ability to compare prices much more easily to the wealth of auto repair and maintenance information at your fingertips.