Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping Online

  • AXXS
    A Depiction of Online Shopping
  • The shopping season is here, and with deals and discounts all over the place, the majority of Kenyans are flocking to the internet to buy what they have been eyeing for months.

    Some have been waiting for the November Black Friday season, ready to reap from their year-long labour. Notably, a group of dishonest exploiters is also excited about the shopping season.

    Whether you are the kind of shopper that saved up money or one who is just shopping on impulse, cheaters will not think twice about taking advantage of naive shoppers. identified the following as mistakes that cost Kenyans their hard-earned money when shopping online: 

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    An Image of a customer keying in credit card details

    1. Not doing proper research

    Most Kenyans do not do due diligence when it comes to researching their products. Research helps potential buyers know what they want to purchase.

    Having information on a product at one's fingertips helps the buyer distinguish a legit product from a counterfeit at face value. It also protects the buyer from the second kind of mistake – overpricing, hence saving money in the process.
    2. Buy from an invalidated shop/ store/dealer

    Although one may argue that it is difficult to make out the legitimacy of a shop or dealer, most online shopping sites have made this simpler. Some websites offer a legitimacy tag which is often attached to a product.

    These are mostly in the form of icons reading 'verified', 'approved' or 'authorized'. In addition, one can verify the authenticity of the shop or dealer by looking at the number of people who have bought from them. The more the clients, the more trusted the dealer.

    3. Pre-Paying

    A section of sellers give shoppers the option of paying before, but the majority are leaning towards the pay-on-delivery. After all, the business is anchored on trust. However, shoppers are advised to always go for the pay-after option.

    Several people have complained about not receiving products they paid for. In the event where one is asked to pay before, for instance, when making a pre-order, be sure to verify the dealer as stated above.

    4. Not checking for any extra costs

    While shipping costs within the country are manageable, shoppers who buy products abroad may have to part with more money. This is where the conning games begin.

    Cunning sellers attach a ridiculously high shipping rate, and to get the better of shoppers they put the cost in foreign currency denominations. As a result, one ends up paying much more than the fair value of the product. 

    Online shoppers are also advised to take note of tax tags. While some sellers include, the tax in prices displayed on the sites, others omit it to make their products appear cheaper.

    The buyer is then greeted with shock when they are asked to part with more money by the taxman when they go to collect the item.

    5. Failure to keep your debit or credit card details private

    Most Kenyans are accustomed to shopping with their bank cards. Shoppers are advised to be wary of infiltrators who tap data from the sites and use it to access your card.

    To stop this, always check that the site you are using is secure. In addition, go through the privacy policy of the site to know how it will protect your data.

    In as much as banks have tried to solve this by sending an approval message before a purchase, securing your money begins with you.

    6. Looking past previews and reviews

    While previews of the product give buyers an snippet on the product by the company selling it, reviews serve as testimonials from people who have actually used the product. Always create time to go through most if not all reviews to get an accurate depiction of the product.

    7. Tagged photos and refund policies

    To ensure that what you see is what you get, always ask the owner of the product to send you a tagged photo. This is a photo of the product taken by the seller with a tag written your name on it to show a real-time depiction.

    Buyers should also look out for the refund policies. This informs them on the number of days they have to return any product they are dissatisfied with to avoid double loss.

    A stock image of a supermarket attendant
    A stock image of a supermarket attendant