Attorney General Morrisey Reminds Consumers to Be Aware of Their Rights When Shopping Online
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today reminded West Virginia consumers to be mindful of their consumer rights when shopping online.
"As the holidays draw nearer, consumers will be doing much of their shopping online due to weather and timing," Attorney General Morrisey said. "The best way to ensure that transactions go through properly is to know your rights before you buy."
Before buying merchandise online, be mindful of some safe practices for shopping online:
• Shop at secure websites. To ensure the website is secure, the address bar will display the web page as “https://” rather than “http://.”
• Know the company from which you are ordering merchandise. If it is not a widely known retailer, spend some time researching the seller’s background to make sure he or she is reputable and the business has a good track record.
• Read websites’ privacy policies and conditions of use.
• Credit cards offer the safest way to buy online because consumers are covered under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act if they have a dispute over a purchase.
• Paying for goods using a wire transfer service is the same as sending cash. Once the transfer is complete it is very hard to track who actually received the money. Be wary of any business that only accepts wire transfer payments.
• Always print and save copies of receipts for return and warranty purposes.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires companies who sell online to adhere to certain standards, including:
• Shipping merchandise within the time promised, or if no specific delivery time was given, within 30 days of receiving your order.
• Notifying you if the shipment cannot be made on time and give you the choice of waiting longer or getting a refund.
• Canceling your order and returning your payment if the new shipping date cannot be met, unless you agree to another delay. If you cancel, your money must be refunded within seven days.
"Our Office is working to ensure that all West Virginians have a great holiday season," Morrisey said. "Educating consumers so they know their rights under the law is the best method to ensure safe online shopping. The last thing we want to see is someone’s holidays ruined by a potential scammer."
If you feel as though you have been scammed while shopping online, please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division toll free at 800-368-8808.