Tips for Shopping through Electronic Media

Shop with companies you trust. If a company is unfamiliar, check its complaint records with your national or local Consumer Protection Association. You can find national Consumer Protection Associations on the website of the EU-Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/empowerment/cons_networks_en.htm#national

Check also your National Direct Marketing Association or Mail Order Association. You can find information about such trade groups at

  1. The European Mail order/Distant Selling Association: www.emota.eu and
  2. FEDMA: The Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing: www.fedma.org

Look for the crucial information that all reputable companies should display:

  • Contact Information. Look for a physical address for the company, as well as a telephone number. If the only form of correspondence a company gives you is an e-mail address, you may want to shop elsewhere.
  • Return/Exchange policies. It may occur that your order or product is not fulfilled in a perfect way all the time. Always look for a company’s return and exchange policy before you place your order. If you make a purchase, you are agreeing to the terms outlined by the company. Also read the satisfaction policy carefully. Note that many products, for example CD’s, cannot be returned if they have been opened.
  • Shipping/Handling. Know when to expect delivery of your product and what will happen if it is out of stock. Also know what shipping options you have and what the final cost will be.
  • Additional Charges. Check out all charges that are indicated on your bill: sales tax, processing fees, insurance charges are just a few of the fees that you may not notice at first.
  • Look for traders that are part of an independent approval process such as the ERA Self Regulation Programme
  • Keep records of your transactions.