With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is reminding Queenslanders to be wary of online shopping scams.
If you’re planning to buy for your mum online, the message remains the same – be careful.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said families needed to be wary when shopping online for Mother’s Day gifts.
“Shopping online can be convenient for you and for businesses. However, make sure you understand your rights and the risks before you buy, or bid in an online auction,” she said.
Mrs D’Ath warned shoppers to ensure they did not make a payment until they were on a secure website.
“Look for an HTTPS within the address bar, or a padlock icon. This indicates the site offers an encrypted line of communication to protect your details during the transaction,” she said.
According to the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Targeting Scams report, Queenslanders lost more than half-a-million dollars through online shopping scams in 2018. Queenslanders lost more than $18 million dollars to scams overall, an increase of 30 per cent from 2017.
Across Australia, an increase of 163 per cent in scams that utilise apps have also highlighted the need for consumers to learn more about what they are paying for in that emerging sector.
Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Turner reminded people who are planning to send flowers or other goods to make sure they do their research and check the terms and conditions to ensure they are delivered on time.
“Consumers are also encouraged to consider other factors that might be relevant before placing orders, such as whether someone needs to be home to take delivery of the goods, whether the package needs to be personally signed for, or if specific instructions can be given for them to be left,” he said.
The OFT recommends the following before ordering gifts online for Mother’s Day:
- always read the terms and conditions, especially regarding delivery timeframes and whether any cut off times apply for peak periods;
- check the trader’s refund policy or if changes are allowed before confirming an order, especially if you think you may need to alter a delivery time;
- keep documents such as your receipt and order confirmation; and
- ask family and friends for supplier recommendations or do a quick online search for reviews if you are ordering from a supplier you haven’t used before. Remember that if you do an internet search to find a local trader, they may not come up first in the search results.