Attorney General's News Release
November 22, 2006
On "Cyber Monday," Nixon offers simple steps for hassle-free online shopping
Jefferson City, Mo. — The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but online holiday shopping kicks in the following Monday — a day known as "Cyber Monday."
Attorney General Jay Nixon is urging Missourians who shop online to use caution, shop with familiar vendors and make payments in a way so that they and their personal information are protected.
"It's important to know how to spot a secure Web site, understand return policies and take the other steps necessary to make your Internet purchases work for you," Nixon said.
Nixon's tips for online shoppers:
- Sites that are known or recommended are the safest and least risky.
- Compare prices and deals. You may find free shipping, extended services contracts or other offers.
- Search online for online coupons known as promo codes, which offer discounts, free shipping, etc. You can use these codes during online checkout. Sites that offer promo codes may also offer printable coupons for bricks-and-mortar stores.
- Before you buy, get a complete description of the item and parts included, and the price including shipping, delivery time, warranty information, return policy and complaint procedure.
- Before you finalize the order, make sure the quantity and total price are correct — for example, don't buy 11 items when you mean to buy one.
- Pay with a credit card. Federal law protects you if you need to dispute charges — but it doesn't apply to debit cards, checks, cash, money orders or other forms of payment.
- Use a secure browser. Look for an address that starts with https, rather than http. Also look for a closed padlock icon, usually in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
- Print your purchase order with details of the product and your confirmation number.
- Buy over the phone if you prefer - most online retailers provide a toll-free number. Make note of the time and date of the purchase, product information, order number and the name of the clerk who takes your order.
- Understand the site's return and refund policies. There is no law that requires retailers to accept returned merchandise.
- For expensive items listed at an online auction, use a third-party escrow service. This company pays the merchant only after you're satisfied with the product. The top Internet consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission each year is the online auction.
Missourians who have complaints about retailers can contact Nixon's office through his Web site, www.ago.mo.gov, or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
Inquiries from consumers should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-392-8222 (from within Missouri) or 573-751-3321 (outside Missouri).
All media inquiries should be directed to the Press Secretary.
E-mail Phone: 573-751-8844 Fax: 573-751-5818