Going Shopping Online
One of the things that people use the internet for is to go shopping! You can buy almost anything on-line from baked beans to computers.
Many well known retailers now have websites where you can buy products, often cheaper than in the stores. This is especially convenient if the company does not have a branch near you.
Websites where you can shop online will have menus and search facilities to help you find what you want. When you find something you wish to buy you click to add it to your "shopping trolley" or "cart". When you have finished shopping you click to go to the "checkout".
You will need to pay on-line using a credit card. When you move to the "checkout" part of the website, your browser may give you a warning that you are entering a secure page. Always make sure that you are on a secure page before giving your credit card details. All reputable on-line sellers will have them. The page address usually begins with https://. You can buy with confidence from a well-known company with secure pages.
If you are trying to buy something from a company that is not well known and notice that the checkout page is not secure, then do not give your credit card details. Somebody else could access and use them. You should also make sure your computer is free from spyware which could compromise your security when shopping online. See Avoiding Computer Viruses page.
Delivering the Goods
The disadvantage of buying online is that, to prevent fraud, many companies will only deliver goods to the address of the credit card holder. This means somebody has to be at home when the goods arrive. Some comapnies, such as Amazon, will send you an email when your goods are on the way. Some companies will offer you available time slots for delivery.
Keep an eye out for delivery charges and bear these in mind when deciding whether a website is offering you good value. Some, such as CD-Wow!, offer free delivery.
Where to Shop
Online Auction Sites
Online Auction web sites such as Ebay and Ebid have become very popular. Some very good bargains are to be had, although bear in mind that a lot of sellers are in it to make money from you! Some people like to watch the progress of a bid and then put in a bid at the very last moment in the hope of "winning" the auction. There are even websites that will help you pit in a last second bid (for a fee). This practice ("sniping") is frowned on by other people, however.
In addition to one-off second-hand items, some sellers have "shops" on Ebay selling new items.
You can even go to websites like Auction Lot Watch that will help you find things on various auction sites.
On Ebay, the easiest way to pay for goods is through the Paypal system.
It is safe to shop at a reputable online shop but make sure you have gone to the real website. Type in the address of the site's home page, or go from your Favourites/Bookmarks. Do not click links in un-solicited emails. They might take you to a lookalike bogus site.
When paying by card, make your you are on a secure page. (see above)
(Also see the page about keeping your money safe online.)