There are many different problems that arise when buying goods or services on the Internet.
First of all, where are you getting them from? How do you know that the provider is a certified dealer and not some regular old Joe, trying to make a pretty penny through a scam? How do you know that what you are buying is in fact what you want, and not some lesser product? What if there are jurisdictional issues involved and the goods you are purchasing are illegal to transfer into your country?
Fraud, misrepresentation and jurisdiction are just some of the issues that can result from buying goods or services through the Internet.
There are some less serious problems that can also arise, even when purchasing from well-known distributing companies.
The wrong product could be sent, or they could be sent to the wrong address. Order mix-ups and postal mistakes are common occurrences when buying through the Internet. This can be potentially dangerous if people are buying items such as medications or information that they are relying on.
Website copycats are another problem to look out for. These are websites that impersonate a reliable distributor to cheat people out of their money by giving false information or no goods at all!
Legal issues with privacy can also arise when purchasing information sensitive items online. How do you know that the website you are buying from is not going to misuse your personal information? The website may request some personal information from you, such as address, date of birth, and credit card number, which they may end up selling to a spam chain, or con-group.
This could result in them sending you copious amounts of junk mail or scams targeting your specific needs.
Even worse, this could result in your credit card number being sold and charges appearing that aren’t yours!
There is legislation and regulations in place to control and protect online consumers; however, the internet is so elusive and complex that most people do not even know what their rights are. Also, since the Internet is such a universal application, it is really difficult to enforce these laws inter-jurisdictionally when the buyers and consumers are not proximately located. This means that thousands of people are scammed or ripped-off daily, with little to no punishment or recourse. However, regardless of how unreliable and unpredictable Internet shopping can be, it is extremely convenient.
Therefore, when buying goods or services off the Internet, be sure you do your due diligence to protect yourself and avoid problems.
Make sure you research the website properly, look for the website contact information and test it out to see if it is valid.
Read other online blogs and posts to see what other consumers have to say about the particular online distributor.
And finally, always be sure to use a well-known and established online payment method and keep print-offs of all your receipts! By taking a couple extra minutes out of your day to verify the online seller’s you are dealing with, you could save yourself from numerous problems in the future!
Legally Speaking appears every second week in LIFE. It is intended for information purposes only. Readers with a specific legal problem should consult a lawyer. This week’s column was written by Eryn Cunningham, student-at-law of the Red Deer law firm Duhamel Manning Feehan Warrender Glass. Cunningham can be reached at 343-0812 or at www.reddeeraltalaw.com