Shop online safely
The entire world is just a click away, and it’s easier than ever to find bargains of all sizes. But think before you click the “buy” button, because there are also a lot of hazards and pitfalls – everything from unwelcome fees you may not have considered to sly credit-card fraudsters.
It’s easy to become intoxicated by all the opportunities that are opened up by the massive global expansion of e-commerce. Just think about how convenient it’s become: most purchases can be made from your sofa!
But do you realize that the shoes you’re ordering from the US with an EUR 200 price tag will actually cost you over EUR 270 when all is said and done? And do you know which payment method is safest?
Here’s our best advice.
- If the company is unfamiliar, research it thoroughly. For example, check for clear contact information, and as an added safety measure, give them a call to see if someone really answers. Pay attention to the payment methods indicated and be suspicious if they’re substantially different from other webshops.
- Read unbiased and independent reviews of the company on social media and “third-party” sites. This is especially recommended when buying brand-name products or when the price seems unreasonably low. Otherwise, you may risk receiving stolen goods or pirated copies!
- Be cautious if the company offers advance payment or cash-on-delivery shipments.
- Pay safely! Even if the company is familiar and everything seems legitimate, you can run into credit-card fraudsters. For example, only use “close-looped” cards that require a security app from the bank or credit card, because then it is not you, but the credit company that runs the risk. Otherwise, pay via an invoicing service like PayPal or Klarna. If you decide to pay with your debit card despite everything, make sure you have a “slush account” with the least possible money in it.
With better oversight and greater risk awareness, you’ll boost your chances for a fun and successful online shopping experience!
When shopping outside the EU
- Remember that customs and VAT fees are added to all purchases. This can often mean an additional hundred kronor in administrative fees to cover import duties. However, customs duties and VAT both vary depending on the product. For example, the duty rate for clothing is 12 percent, but it’s 14 percent for TV sets and 4 percent for jewelry. VAT is generally 24 percent, but it’s 14 percent for foods and 10 percent for books. For more examples, see Finnish Customs web page.
- Check the return policy thoroughly. In the EU, you always have the right to a 14-day open purchase, but the policy may be completely different in non-EU countries. Returns are also usually significantly more complicated and take longer outside the EU.
- Read the contents thoroughly if you are buying toys from China, for example, as environmental awareness differs significantly all over the world.