Is Online Shopping New to You?
Fear Not
Some Helpful Hints

Online shopping places you in the global marketplace. If you haven't done this before you may be a little apprehensive. If this is the case, the following should help put your mind to rest.

  • Trust Your Instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable making a purchase - click to somewhere else.

  • If you’re not familiar with a particular company or merchant check for a physical address and phone number. Call the company if necessary to make sure they indeed exist. Disreputable outfits are often difficult or impossible to contact.

  • Read the privacy policy to find out what information the seller is gathering from you and how it will be used - if you don't like what you see, click to somewhere else.

    Don’t disclose personal information
    such as your address, telephone number, Social Security number, or email address
    unless you know how it will be used
    (e.g. to deliver merchandise and have a contact in the event of a problem).

  • Check pricing. you may want to comparison shop before you buy. Take advantage of the comparison shopping sites such as, or, especially for high-priced items.

  • Review product return, refund, shipping and handling policies before placing an order. If not posted on the company’s Web site shop elsewhere.

  • A credit card is the safest way to pay on the Internet plus you’ll have additional protection in case of fraud. Your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Any reputable merchant will use a secure system to process credit card transactions.

    You should only give your credit card number in a secure connection on a web site, never in ordinary e-mail.

  • You can verify that a web site uses secure software by observing one of the following:

    • an icon of a locked padlock displayed at the bottom of the screen (Netscape Navigator™; browser - versions 4.0 and higher);

    • an icon of an unbroken key at the bottom of the screen (earlier versions of Netscape Navigator™);

    • an icon of a lock on the status bar (Microsoft Internet Explorer®).

  • When you do make a purchase Keep Records: Print out, date and save copies of order or invoice numbers, conformation numbers, terms, conditions, warranties, item description, company information, confirming e-mails plus any follow-on communications (e.g.if you need to return or exchange an item).

  • You may be asked to set up an account, a convenience if you are going to be a repeat customer.You'll be asked to provide is a password to access your account.

    Keep your password(s) private.
    When you create a password and use a "meaningless" combination of numbers, letters and symbols.

  • Be aware of the 30-Day Rule.

    The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that if a seller says that a product will be shipped within a certain time and can't meet that deadline the seller must notify you.

    If no time is specified a 30-day deadline is assumed and again, the seller must notify you if this date will not be met. In either event the seller must give you a chance to cancel your order and receive a refund.

Should You Encounter Problems -There are some excellent sources of assistance available.

  • You have a friend in the Federal Trade Commission at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

  • and in the Better Business Bureau at

  • not to forget the Consumer Protection Agency or Office of the State Attorney General in your state or the state where the seller is located.

    Most companies would prefer not to have to deal with a governmental or regulatory agency and, as a minumum will likley be very cooperative in trying to resolve your problem.

  • And with a click you can check a company’s reputation by contacting the Better Business Bureau or the Office of the State Attorney General in your state or the state where the seller is located which can be accessed through the National Association of Attorneys General.

  • Another useful site is sponsored by The American Bar Association which provide tips for shopping on line.

    It's unlikely you'll ever have to resort to contacting any of the above agencies.Most online transactions go every bit as smoothly as mail or phone order ever did.

    So enjoy your online shopping experience and take advantage of the many conveniences.

    Back to Your Guide to Gifts for Horse Lovers Home Page