Online UK Shopping Guides Questions - FAQ

Most frequently asked questions and answers when shopping on the internet. - Shopping safely online - UK Shopping Guide

Of course, it’s predominantly why people shop online. It takes time travelling to the shops searching for the items you want and having to wait in a queue plus the return trip back home. This can all be replaced by switching on a computer while sat on the sofa having a coffee. Avoiding all the stress of the journey is an added bonus. The internet is open 24 hours 7 days a week. When buying online it is typically coming from the warehouse so stock will be more complete than the store where items may not be in stock.

Online shops do not have the overheads of high street shops. You can safely say the item will be generally cheaper online than it will be in a physical shop. Comparing the price of the same item is a lot easier online and can be done within a few clicks of the mouse. Travelling to a shop by car or public transport will have all the associated costs petrol and car parking charges. Even if you go by public transport you will have the cost of buying bus or train tickets.

Yes, some shops have special lines and it is easier to go through a websites stock quicker than walking through a physical store. There is a lot of shopping websites for example selling unique personal gifts that will not be available in a high street shop. Buying rare items not available in the UK is possible the world wide web is exactly that worldwide. Potential disputes can be a problem when buying from outside the UK or even outside the European Union.

There is an element of danger but this can be reduced by sticking to a few guidelines. The biggest risk is credit card fraud. It is better to use a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit cards offer better fraud protection benefits and extra warranties on purchases. Always pick strong passwords for your shopping accounts with upper case and lower-case letters, number and maybe a special character. Keep your security software up to date on whatever device you are conducting your online shopping. Use the better-known official shopping websites who have a high street presence. Watch out for clone websites that make you believe they are the original these can be sent in a link form by email. Also known as phishing emails.

Checking customer reviews is a great way to learn about a product. Check the review is made by a verified buyer of the item. The selling website will usually have a product description often including a list of specific features and system requirements with optional add-on products. Product information can be sourced from the web and not just from the website you are buying from. Search for reviews, surveys and research about the particular item you are thinking about purchasing.

There are lots of discount codes floating about on the internet. Do a google search for the shop or product and there is a good chance a voucher or discount code will come up somewhere. If there is a live chat feature on the shopping site you are using, ask for a discount or voucher code to apply at checkout. Sign up for email news letter or follow the shops social accounts for the latest discount codes and special offers.

Look for the green padlock in the address bar this indicates the site has SSL certificate. An SSL certificate means all data is encrypted on the server. You can always stick to sites that are well known big brand high street names. Although sometimes the best deals are offered by smaller independent retailers.

Before inputting your payment details or if paying by any other method. Take time to check the website has the green lock icon and starts with https in the web address bar. This indicates the site has an SSL Certificate ensuring all of your data is passed from your browser to the website’s server where it is encrypted.

Most shopping sites will have a privacy policy usually found in the bottom navigation menu. This will explain what they do with your personal data. A privacy policy should visibly explain how your data is collected, used, and protected by the shopping website. There are new laws in place to protect your data, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is UK and EU data protection rules. It governs how they Collect your personal data and what they do with it.

The same rights apply as when you purchase from a high street shop in fact in some cases you have more rights when shopping online. Your statutory rights still apply when shopping online. You have the right to return and a refund during a certain period (14 days) after your purchase with even if the item does not have a fault. It is important to know that your rights may change if purchasing outside of the EU/UK.

Shoppers have the same rights online as on the high street or town centre shopping area, so feel free to complain and return faulty goods. You are also allowed a seven-day ‘cooling off’ period. Which means that, unless the item has been made to your own specification or is perishable, you can change your mind as long as you do not remove the cellophane wrapping.

Postage will vary but lots of online shops will offer free postage if the purchase is over a certain amount of money. If you choose to have a premium postage service and then want to return an item you will not be reimbursed for this only standard postage.

Paying for goods online can be done several ways credit card and debit card (always use credit card before debit card) or by payment services like PayPal.

Most shopping sites will want to get you to register thus helping to keep you has a return customer. For a quicker checkout usually done if you are a one-off customer some shopping sites have a guest checkout. This requires no registration and is simple, although you will have to input your details again if you return. It is handy to register if you are going to be a return customer. The convenience of not having to type your postage address or input card payment methods is good. Prefilled forms are a blessing when you are short on time.

Yes, shopping online is ideal if you have an anxiety disorder. Some people just do not like to engage with a shop assistance for various reasons. It could be agoraphobia which is a type of anxiety disorder or some other social anxiety. Being in a crowded shop can bring on a panic attack for anxiety sufferers. Coming into contact with the public or a pushy sales assistant can be stressful experience. Others want to avoid the embarrassment of buying something like condoms or haemorrhoid cream. There are specific shopping websites that are dedicated to selling items that can be embarrassing to buy over the counter.

There are voucher codes all over the internet. These can be used to input a code and receive a discount. After you have chosen your goods and are at the checkout. You may see a box that you can input a discount code. Open another window and do a search for the item or shop but add discount code or voucher code in with the search term. Some of the search results you get will hopefully contain a code you can copy and paste into the box. Thus, allowing you to receive a discount.

Yes, more people use the web for research than for purchases. There are some real benefits to buying in store. You have a person you can talk to if you have a complaint. Be tactile with the goods, touch, feel and smell the merchandise. Relax and have a café latte while you are resting after carrying your purchases down the escalator.

What is it I want or need is this website likely to stock it. Is it the right shopping site for what you require? The word surfing is used when we are searching on the internet. This is not by accident we can end up some where we did not mean to be.

Online shopping when you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs prescribed or illegal is a very bad idea. Shopping when you are feeling depressed can give an uplift to your mood. But it can get you in a bad financial place if you are using it as a crux.

Buying items just for the sake of it or when you do not really need it can cause financial issues. Don’t spend money on stuff you cannot afford or need.

Only spend what you can afford try not to get into debt for stuff you can do without. If you are going to buy with credit try to get interest free.

When buying furniture, it is a good idea to take measurements making sure it will fit in the spot you have in kind. Another aspect to think about is will it look right and fit into the colour or furniture scheme you have. Larger items still come with your statutory rights. Although they can be more difficult to return.

Some questions to ask yourself when shopping online, it is easy to get carried away!

Disclaimer: These FAQs are meant to serve merely as guidance only and consequently have no legal merit. They can also be subject to amendments. Some links on our shopping guide may be affiliate links. If you click on them I may earn a tiny commission. This helps me run this website and covers the time taken to research the history of certain UK shops. I do not allow any commercial partnerships to influence editorial independence. If you think your consumer rights have been breached click here to find out who to contact.