Online shoppers get Christmas warning

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 11:50 26/11/2013
Online shopping
Fairfax
CYBERSAFETY: Kiwis say security is their biggest concern when shopping online.

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With Christmas now less than a month away, a Timaru police spokesman is warning those trawling the internet for stocking filler bargains to be vigilant.

Senior Sergeant Randel Tikitiki said people planning to shop online should rely only on reputable companies. He also warned consumers to be wary of deals.

''If it's too good to be true, it often is. You have to be vigilant about it," Mr Tikitiki said.

''If it sounds like a good deal, check it out. It's not just about the delivery and getting stuff handed over - it's the quality of the product as well.''

Earlier this month Fairlie woman Julie Opie warned the public of an online ''buy, sell and exchange'' scam. Her experience proved just how vigilant consumers need to be.

Ms Opie's partner bought a new cellphone from a buy, sell and exchange page on Facebook and arranged pickup.

They met the seller, a woman, outside a petrol station in Temuka. However, when Ms Opie gave the money to the woman, she grabbed the cash, thew her a box and drove off.

The only thing in the box was a block of wood similar in size to a cellphone. The incident left the couple $350 out of pocket.

NetSafe cyber-security consultant Chris Hails said there was a definite shift towards online shopping.

''Click Monday'', a business association initiative launched yesterday, had added to the hype, he said.

Mr Hails said delivery of purchases made over Facebook had been among the main issues people had faced this year. People often opted to buy from smaller sites because they believed a website ending with .co.nz was a safe, but cheaper, option.

Mr Hails said those sites were not necessarily operated from New Zealand by New Zealanders, and people who bought from those sites were not always covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act either, he said.

''We do say to people do five minutes of research before you order something from the lesser-known websites. Just do a quick Google [search] and [search for] customer feedback. Spend five minutes looking before you part with your money.''

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- The Timaru Herald

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