November 28, 2005
Jefferson City, Mo. — The Monday after Thanksgiving has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year, thanks to online retailers. Missourians who shop on what is being called "Cyber Monday" — or who shop on any other day of the year — should use the same common sense they would when shopping in a traditional retail outlet, Attorney General Jay Nixon says.
"The convenience of online shopping certainly is a great draw during the holiday season," Nixon says. "Consumers need to take many things into consideration, however, so that their online shopping experiences are positive."
Nixon offers several suggestions to online shoppers:
If you prefer, most online retailers list a toll-free number that allows you to pay by credit card over the phone. Make note of the time and date of the purchase, product information and order number. Also, ask the name of the person who takes your credit-card number.
If you purchase goods on an online auction Web site, consider protecting yourself by using a service that will hold your payment in escrow until you are satisfied with your purchase.
Just like a bricks-and-mortar store, each online retailer will have its own return and refund policies. Find out what that policy is before you make your purchase, so there are no unpleasant surprises in case you have to return the item.
Be aware that if you make online purchases, your electronic mailbox often will receive more commercial e-mails. Consumers can check the privacy policies of the retailers to see if they can opt out of receiving such e-mails or having their information shared with third parties.
Missourians who have complaints about a business, online or otherwise, can contact the Attorney General's Office through its Web site, www.ago.mo.gov, or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-392-8222.