Online shopping can be convenient and has extended access to goods and services. Learning how to shop thoughtfully, identify reputable sellers and assert your rights is an important part of being a digital citizen.
Almost anything you can buy in a shop can also be bought online, and many digital goods can only be bought online. Just like when you go to a physical shop, there are strategies and resources to help you make informed choices about what you buy, who you buy from and what to do if something goes wrong.
Information about almost anything you want to buy is available on the internet, but finding unbiased reviews can be challenging. Friends and family can be a great resource for trusted reviews.
Ethical shopping is important to many people. That can be something as simple as ensuring that the product you are buying is not tested on animals, or you might want to ensure that the company you are buying from is a good corporate citizen.
Most sellers reach consumers in one or more of these ways:
- Company online storefront
- Online marketplace – such as eBay, Amazon, iTunes or Steam
- Auction or trade site – such as Gumtree or eBay
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has some useful information about making good shopping decisions.
When you buy online from an Australian business you are covered by Australian consumer law. There are some exceptions, but most online purchases include consumer protections like refunds if you receive faulty goods, or goods that are substantially different to what you were expecting. For more information, see 'My Rights Shopping Online' from Youth Law Australia.