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The Telegraph's legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors has some advice for the growing army of on-line shoppers who let their computers take the strain, and do their Christmas shopping over the Internet.

Each year, more and more people are doing their Christmas Shopping at the click of a mouse. But it's worth using some of the time you save by shopping online to check out the terms and conditions of any site you chose to use.

You should make sure you know who you are dealing with and whether or not they are based in this country, as you might need to know which laws apply to the transaction.

Does the website have contact information such as the physical address of the business and a phone number in case your package does not arrive or your credit card is wrongly charged.

Make sure that you have an adequate description of the product to ensure that it suits your needs.

Check the payment mechanism. Do you know what sort of on-line security the website has for processing your payment? You need to make sure that any on-line payment by credit card is secure.

The site should tell you that you are entering a secure on-line environment before you start to provide your credit card details.

Usually an unbroken key or lock will appear at the bottom of your browser window to indicate you are sending information via a secure connection.

Do you know the business' return, exchange, refund and warranty policies?

Standard UK consumer law should apply to transactions in this country but double-check what the website states and be very careful in dealing with countries outside the UK.

Will you have access to a complaints handling process? Double-check the website to make sure that any complaint you might have might be resolved by the website business. It is worth checking this out before you make your purchase.

Watch out for scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

You need to satisfy yourself on all of the above points to make sure that your rights are protected.

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