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Online shopping

Protect yourself and know your rights when you shop online

Page reading time: 3 minutes

Online shopping can be a convenient way to buy the things you want. Know how to protect yourself online, and what to do if you don't get what you pay for.

What to look out for when you shop online

Not sure if you can trust a website with your personal information? Follow our simple steps to shop online with confidence.

Make sure the website is secure

Before you enter personal or payment details online, make sure the website is secure.

Signs of a secure website:

If you haven't heard of the business, check reviews online to help you decide whether to shop with them.

Find out if the seller is overseas

If the seller is not in Australia, you may not have the same consumer rights. It could be hard to contact them for a repair, replacement or refund.

An overseas seller might charge you an international transaction fee. A seller can be based overseas even if the domain ends with '.com.au' or if the price is in Australian dollars. To see what fees apply, read the website's terms and conditions or contact the seller directly.

Avoid being charged two fees: check if your credit card provider charges a fee for overseas transactions.

Check you can afford buy now pay later

Some websites let you pay for something in instalments, like every fortnight, instead of paying the full amount upfront.

You don't pay interest on the purchase. Instead you're charged fees. It's easy to overspend or lose track of how much you owe. So make sure you can afford the repayments.

Find out about buy now pay later services like Afterpay, Humm or zipPay.

Know your rights as a buyer

Read the terms and conditions carefully, including:

Check your credit card statements

If you shop online, check your credit card and bank statements regularly. Make sure you've been charged the right amount.

If you see something you don't recognise, this could be a sign that a scammer has your personal details. See banking and credit card scams to find out the signs of a scam, how to report it and get help.

Kate gets scammed

Check out these useful tips to help you decide whether to go ahead and buy.

What to do if something goes wrong

Sometimes, even when you're careful, things can go wrong:

Follow these steps to get a refund or exchange.

1. Know your rights

Visit the ACCC's online shopping page to find out about your rights as a customer.

2. Contact the seller

Check the seller's website for details on how to contact them or make a complaint. It may have been a mistake — if so, explain the issue to them and suggest how they can fix it.

3. Contact the ACCC or consumer affairs

If you can't sort things out with the seller, contact the ACCC or the consumer affairs office in your state. They may be able to help you sort things out with the seller.

4. Call your bank

If you used your credit card to shop online but didn't get what you paid for, contact your bank. They may be able to give you a chargeback.

If you used a PayPal account, follow PayPal's dispute resolution process.

If you think you've been scammed, see banking and credit scams for how to report it and get help.

How to protect yourself online

Get the most out of internet shopping by staying safe online. Follow our simple steps to protect your money and your personal details.

Keep your details safe

Password-protect all your devices. If you're using a shared or public computer, never save passwords, and always log out of your accounts — don't just close the browser window. See Stay Smart Online for tips on creating a strong password.

If you're using a public WiFi network, don't send or receive sensitive information — for example, don't log in to your online banking or use your credit card.

Record your online purchases

Keep a record of your online purchases, including photos and descriptions of the items. In particular: