Through online shopping, you have access to a vast range of products. You can shop at home at any time, compare prices and choose the lowest ones. There are special features associated with online shopping, as the seller and the buyer are not present at the same time in the transaction.
Note the following points before placing an order:
What do you know about the seller?
Does the seller clearly state on their website their name, street address and telephone number in addition to their e-mail address?
- It is not a good idea to do business on the basis of an e-mail address or PO box alone!
- The web address may not even indicate the country in which the seller operates.
Also search for information about the seller by typing the company’s name in a search engine – you may find information about other people’s purchasing experiences on forums and other online arenas.
Are the offers too good to be true?
If you encounter a product online advertised as free, it is likely that you are actually sold something you have to pay for. If you have ordered a product sample or trial package and paid, for example, mailing charges by debit or credit card, the seller may charge additional amounts to your account.
Read the terms and conditions of product sample offers particularly carefully. It is a good idea to read the terms from beginning to end, often the most important terms are found in the middle of the text or on the last rows.
What are you told about the product?
- Does the seller clearly describe the product itself and its properties on the website?
- Is warranty provided to the product, and what is the regional coverage of the warranty? Can you repair the product in Finland if necessary?
- In which language is the user manual available for the product?
- Is the product suitable for Finland in terms of its technical characteristics?
Are the price details clear?
A trustworthy seller will:
- clearly explain what the product itself costs
- specify all payments related to the order
- clearly state the total price including tax and delivery costs
Are the delivery time and other terms of delivery stated?
Is the length of the delivery time stated? If not, it may be a good idea to agree on these with the seller. Always also read any other terms of delivery:
- Are they clear and understandable?
- Do they answer your questions?
- How do you proceed, for example, when the goods are faulty?
Is information about the withdrawal period or no withdrawal period given?
In online sales in the EU, consumers have a 14-day right of withdrawal. The seller must state:
- the right of withdrawal or the lack thereof
- what to do in case of withdrawal
Right of withdrawal does not always apply, for example, in flight purchases, accommodation services and car rentals. Remember to read the terms and conditions carefully.
What types of payment methods does the seller offer?
In online sales, goods are usually paid in connection with the order. There may be different payment options, some of which provide additional security, while others are very risky.
For more information on payment methods, see Secure payments.
What is your personal data used for?
Check what the company reports about the use of personal data and direct marketing. Think about what information you want to provide about yourself. Save all documentation on everything you have agreed to!
Websites are constantly updated. Remember to keep:
- the order you placed
- the order confirmation you received
- the terms of delivery
- the product description or advertisement
- any correspondence with the seller
This will significantly facilitate the investigation of the matter in a possible problem situation.
Does the seller have a so-called trustmark?
Some sellers are part of systems through which they undertake to comply with certain rules. The system may facilitate dispute resolution. There are many types of these so-called trustmarks, and the protection they offer varies. If your company has such a logo on its site, check what advantage it gives you.
Are there any specific provisions or import restrictions related to the product you want?
The premise is that you can order products freely from other EU countries without having to pay duties. Further information on customs duties, import restrictions and taxation can be found on the Customs website.