Weekly business rail, with shopping tips from the BBB, deciphering the technical lingo when buying a new TV and more.
Following are the top 10 online shopping tips for holiday shoppers to help fight deceitful online retailers, scammers and hackers on Cyber Monday and the rest of the season:
1. Protect your computer - A computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.
2. Shop on trustworthy websites - Shoppers should start with the BBB to check on the seller's reputation and record for customer satisfaction at www.bbb.org.
4. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true - Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a "deal" that might cost them dearly in the end.
5. Beware of phishing - Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure the "buyer" into revealing financial information. If a consumer receives such an e-mail, the BBB recommends picking up the phone and calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that there really is a problem with the transaction.
6. Confirm your online purchase is secure - Shoppers should always look in the address box for the "s" in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the "lock" symbol before paying. If there are any doubts about a site, the BBB recommends right-clicking anywhere on the page and select "Properties." This will let you see the real URL (website address), and the dialog box will reveal if the site is not encrypted.
7. Pay with a credit card - It's best to use a credit card, because under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charges if he or she doesn't receive the item.
8. Keep documentation of your order - After completing the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page or the shopper might receive confirmation by e-mail. The BBB recommends saving a copy of the Web page and any e-mails for future reference and as a record of the purchase.
9. Check your credit card statements often - Don't wait for paper statements; the BBB recommends consumers check their credit card statements for suspicious activity by either calling credit card companies or by checking statements online regularly.
10. Know your rights - Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods aren't shipped on time, the shopper can cancel and demand a refund. There is no general three-day cancellation right, but consumers do have the right to reject merchandise if it's defective or was misrepresented. Otherwise, it's the company's policies that determine if the shopper can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit.
For more advice on staying safe online this holiday season visit www.bbb.org.
Tip of the Week
Today's TVs can do more than most of us could have ever imagined, from displaying 3-D images to connecting to the Internet. But those advances in technology have also made it more complicated for the average person shopping for a new television. Are you having trouble telling the difference between LED and Plasma TVs? Perhaps you could use help with some of the technical terms used to describe the TVs right now.
- Plasma or PDP (plasma display panel): Many experts consider plasma displays the better choice for home theater enthusiasts because they provide deep black levels, extremely accurate color reproduction and a wider viewing angle than most LCD sets.
- LCD (liquid-crystal display): LCD can produce a brighter picture which makes it a good choice for use in a bright room or areas where ambient light cannot be avoided.
- LED (LCD with LED lighting): This type of lighting enables the set to have a thinner profile (some as thin as 1 inch in depth), bright vivid picture and they are generally more energy efficient.
According to a study by CQ Press, here are the most dangerous cities in the U.S.:
1. St. Louis
2. Camden, N.J.
4. Flint, Mich.
5. Oakland, Calif.
Number to Know
$140 billion: Amount of bailout money Ireland is getting from the European Union. Six months ago Greece needed a $150 billion bailout, and experts say Spain and Portugal may be next.
Netflix is now offering a streaming-only option that lets users watch movies online for $8 a month.
GateHouse News Service