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Checking online seller reputation 

Before buying goods or services from an online seller it is important that you do the necessary checks to be satisfied about the reputation of the supplier. Knowing who you are dealing with and satisfying yourself about seller reputation can help you avoid:

  • being a victim of shopping scams that involve offers that are too good to be true
  • dealing with sellers with a reputation for not supplying goods or misleading descriptions about the quality of the goods that are supplied.

Dealing only with sellers of good repute is even more important when buying from overseas suppliers because Australian consumer law may not apply and may only offer you limited protection.

Be suspicious of spam offers 

Be extremely suspicious of anything that is offered for sale in an unsolicited email or spam. Scammers routinely resort to spam to target new victims.

To encourage you to make a rushed decision without doing proper checks, spam emails often contain deals that are too good to be true and 'limited offers' that require immediate action.

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Confirm physical address and phone details 

Look for and independently verify physical address and telephone contact details for the seller.

Don't deal with sellers who are evasive, only have a mobile phone number and won't give a contact name or address.

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Check vendor reputation online 

Doing a web search with the name of the seller or web address with terms such as 'scam' or 'review' can provide feedback that has been published about the seller.

This information can help you to assess the reputation and reliability of the seller.

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Check policies on privacy, returns and warranties 

Checking the privacy policy can tell you if the seller can communicate your details to others for purposes such as advertising.

The returns policy can tell you if a restocking or handling fee might apply if goods are returned. The details of a warranty will also probably say who is responsible for transport costs if goods are returned under a warranty claim.

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