As we have heard many times, “The Internet is a dangerous place”. There are crooks out there who are constantly inventing new schemes to steal your money. When you are purchasing on the Internet and most of us do frequently, it is important to know with whom you are dealing and if they are reputable.
How can I check out an Internet vendor?
Bizrate.com is an excellent source for ratings of Internet sellers. If you don’t find the company on their site it is a good chance you should look elsewhere. When you go through Amazon or Yahoo or other Internet stores they have tried to vet their vendors and provide you with recourse for poor customer service. Before you buy, call the Customer Service number posted on their site to see if a real person answers. If there is no Customer Service number, find another seller!! That is a sure sign the seller is a bad apple.
When the web site you purchased a product from disappears and the customer service number they post does not go to the company you purchased from, you should immediately dispute the charges with your credit card supplier (usually a bank).
We all want to save money but it is worth a few extra dollars to deal with a reputable company then have to try to get your money back when you have been cheated.
What do I do when I’ve been cheated or received terrible service?
The good news here is that you do have recourse. Almost all Internet transactions are handled by Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Payment service companies like PayPal. All of these companies are very sensitive to consumer’s being treated poorly or being outright scammed. They all require their vendors to pass tests to show they are legitimate. They often also ask you to rate sellers once you have completed a transaction. It is important that you do this to keep the system healthy and root out the few rotten apples. Even with this bad guys do slip through.
Banks and payment companies allow you to dispute a transaction and if you are honest, they will almost always find in your favor. Their general approach is that the merchant has to prove they are correct and not the consumer. This process can take several weeks before you get satisfaction so it is better not to have to take this route. It is often helpful if you let the seller know if you are dissatisfied and that you intend to dispute the transaction if they don’t fix the problem. The sellers realize that they are rated by the number of “charge backs” against them and if it is beyond a certain threshold they will lose the ability to sell through that bank, credit/debit card or payment service.