Being a savvy consumer and staying safe online are central elements of a successful e-Commerce experience. The Ministry of Transport & Communications in Qatar provides you as a consumer with the practical tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable ecommerce experience.

Tip #1 – It Is Important to Know the Merchant

Before you buy anything online, try to determine if the merchant is legitimate. Most trustworthy merchants will post plenty of information about their business, including their location, phone number, fax number, and other details. You should look for:

  • Company Registration
  • Certificates or seals of quality
  • Links to legitimate reviews
  • Other purchase options (by phone, at store locations or through a catalogue) You can also check a local business'        details by contacting them directly or visiting any retail outlet operated by the business.

Tip #2 – Know What You Are Buying

Ensure that you have enough information to fully understand what you are buying. When purchasing a product, make sure you understand if it is new or used, whether it is technically compatible, its dimensions, physical appearance, … etc.

You should familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your purchase, and when possible confirm the details of the product with the merchant.

Tip #3 – Know the Details of Your Payment

Be aware of all charges before you pay for your goods and services online. Your total price should include tax, shipping and handling. Also remember:

You might have to pay for customs and border fees if you buy things from companies in other countries, so make sure you get an estimate of what those charges might be before you pay for your order. These fees can be expensive.

Do not forget to account for the exchange rate. The charge on your credit card will probably be different from the final price because of the exchange rate.

Tip #4 - Know What Information You Are Giving to the Vendor and Why

For many online vendors, your personal information is as important as your money. Make sure you know why vendors are asking for information, and how they intend to use it. Consider whether it is reasonable for the vendor to use your information in this way.

Tip #5 – Know When to Be Concerned

It is also good to be aware of tricks that no reputable vendor would use. Seriously consider abandoning your order if the vendor does any of the following:

  •  Asks for credit card information before allowing you to enter a site
  • Tries to rush you into a decision
  • Presents incredible savings offers that sound too good to be true - they usually are
  • Sends spam emails. Most good companies will ask if you want to be added to a mailing list at some point during your order, but spam emails are different. They can hide computer viruses so don’t reply and ensure you delete them
  • Use "browser traps"—these include tricks like disabling your browser’s “back” button, opening new windows every time you try to close one, or other tactics that make it hard for you to get out of a site. Do not do business with vendors who use these techniques and never make a purchase to get out of the trap
  • Does not provide the terms and conditions on its site, or provides terms and conditions that are so complicated and detailed that they’re impossible to understand

Tip #6 – Understanding Online Auctions

Online auctions can be risky. Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Know what you're buying and get a description of the item in writing to have a concrete basis for a complaint in case the product does not meet your expectations when you receive it
  • When you buy from a private individual, read the rules of the auction site: scrupulous sites will keep records of customer satisfaction and should also have dispute resolution mechanisms
  • Look at other buyer reviews. Most good auction sites have a review system in place. If a seller doesn’t have a lot of good reviews or has a lot of bad ones, don’t buy from them

Tip #7 – Delivery Time

Agree with the merchant on the delivery date.

Name of Source: Ministry of Transport & Communication

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