Shopping Online

What should I be aware of while shopping online?
Making an informed decision takes time. It is important to know the following: who the company is you’re dealing with, where they are physically located, what kind of reputation they have, what their return and privacy policies are, and make sure you have a clear description of the product you are purchasing.
How do you know a site is secure?
There is no way to tell if a site is truly secure but consider the following, unless you initiated the communication you should never share any personal information. Impostor web sites do exist so make sure that you have found the site that you wanted, not an impostor site.
How do you know if you are dealing with a reputable business?
Be patient. By taking the time to do some research up front you will probably save time and money in the long run. Find out where the business is physically located, what its name is, what its policies are, and how to contact it. Then look up the company on the Better Business Bureau web site for the state in which the business is located. The Better Business Bureau site should provide information on how many complaints have been filed against the business recently, what the nature of the complaints were, and if the complaints were resolved. If the business is new it might not be listed or its record could be too short to provide an adequate example of service. The company may also belong to industry trade groups that might provide information on the company’s services.
Who governs online purchases?
At this time there is not a single government agency that is charged with overseeing online purchases, but you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. (from the home page click on “File a Complaint.”) You can also file a complaint with your state attorney general’s office as well as the attorney general’s office in the state the company is located. For complaints involving foreign companies visit and