Online shopping risks | govt.chinadaily.com.cn

Online shopping risks

Updated: Dec 13, 2018 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print

The long delivery time

Online shopping is a type of remote transaction as it is a purchase agreement reached by two parties through the transmission of network information. The purchaser places an order and makes payment, and the seller is required to ship the merchandise within 24-48 hours. However, if the seller is out of stock, then the merchandise cannot be shipped on time, so the consumer faces the risk of having to wait for a long time. If there is a holiday, the merchandise tends to be delayed due to the logistics companies being busy. Moreover, your merchandise may be damaged during transportation or delivery process. Re-order or reshipment also takes time.

Consumers are advised to avoid the peak of online shopping when purchasing fresh and urgently needed products. Close attention should also be paid to logistics information after payment. If you have not received the goods for a long time, you’d better check the automatic payment time in the trading system and communicate with the merchants.

Product quality risk

Buyers identify and choose the online products through pictures and advertisements provided on the seller's homepage, rather than seeing the products in person. Moreover, there are some merchants who claim that their products are genuine products, but in fact, there might be a big difference in color and quality between the advertised product and the actual one. Sometimes, customers may receive counterfeit and shoddy goods.

Payment risk

At present, China's electronic transaction payment methods include cash on delivery, online banking, and third-party payment (such as WeChat and Alipay). Online banking and third-party payment have greater risks compared to traditional transactions as they involve intermediaries and banks, and they need to rely on some program settings and networks.

You are recommended to use third-party guarantee payments or cash on delivery as much as possible to reduce risks. Customers should use secure payment methods when shopping online, and beware of information disclosure risks. In any case, do not make direct transfer or remittance to a private account, and do not make payment through any unreliable payment links or QR codes.

Personal privacy leakage risk

Customers who shop online are required to register as a member on the corresponding shopping website. When registering, certain personal information is required. Some websites need your personal information such as your contacts and bank card account; otherwise you will not be able to complete the transaction. Some computer hackers may obtain your personal information through certain means, and illegally make use of the information to threaten your personal and property safety. At the same time, the development of the modern logistics industry may also let out your private information. When sending and receiving deliveries, you need to fill in the contact number of both parties to facilitate communication, which, however, may also compromise privacy.

Consumer rights protection risk

Returning the products purchased online may be troublesome. The customer will communicate with the seller to request a return when the actual quality or the description of the product received does not match the advertisement, or the product itself has quality problems (might be defected or damaged). The seller may refuse the return for various reasons, or ask the customer to pay for the shipping. Even if the relevant authority steps in, there might be a lack of evidence and thus it may be concluded hastily. Since online shopping is a long-distance transaction, it is difficult to guarantee the after-sales service of some appliances and mobile phones. Once the product breaks down in later use, it will be difficult to guarantee after-sales rights protection.

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