The Telegraph's legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors is committed to protecting the rights of the individual. This week he looks at the risks consumers face when they go shopping on the internet, and provides practical tips on how to protect your rights in the world's fastest growing trading environment.
More and more people are shopping online these days.
It is difficult enough protecting your interests when buying goods in the high street, let alone having to cope with the hidden dangers when you go shopping online
However some of your usual consumer rights do apply online. If your credit or debit card is used fraudulently the card company must refund you. If you buy by credit card and the goods fail to arrive, or are faulty, the card company should refund you for any single item costing over £100.
It is also worth bearing in mind that basic high street rights still protect you when shopping online. Goods must still be of satisfactory quality and adverts should not be misleading.
If you are on a website it is important to check the security features of that particular supplier. You should check for a closed padlock sign at the bottom of the screen. This appears when you are asked to enter personal details, and it shows that your information is protected when it is being sent.
When you are buying online you must be given important details before you commit to buy including the supplier's postal address. Items must be delivered within 30 days unless otherwise agreed.
You should always use sites which have been recommended to you.
Buying from abroad can be dangerous and you should make sure you check delivery charges and taxes. Technical standards vary for some items like DVDs bought from USA. Region 1 DVDs, for instance, will not play on many European players.
Online auctions bring their own risks especially those involving private sellers where the general rule is "buyer beware".
So the key message, if you must shop online rather than on than the High Street, is make sure you do your research thoroughly, as seeking redress from online transactions can be much more complicated than from a high street store.