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The Telegraph’s legal expert, Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire of Thompsons Solicitors is an expert at winning compensation for clients in personal injury cases. This week he explores your rights when Christmas shopping online, and outlines some simple precautions to avoid losing out to internet fraudsters.   

More and more of us will do our Christmas shopping online this year.

Despite the recession e-commerce now accounts for virtually 10 per cent of all UK sales, but the boom in trade has meant a boom in internet fraud. 

Here are a few simple precautions you really should take to avoid becoming an online loser facing a far from merry Christmas.

When buying online make sure the company has a contact address and telephone number, not just an email address. Always keep copies of receipts, order details, confirmations, emails and other correspondence from the supplier.

Always check for secure payment facilities known as 'encryption' facilities to ensure your online transactions are secure. Normally a padlock is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Never send your credit card details via e-mail.

If you do receive your online purchase, but are not happy with it you are entitled to a seven-day cooling off period under UK consumer law after the goods are delivered.

You are also liable to a full refund if the goods or services are not provided by the date you agreed, presumably December 24 at the latest.

Misrepresentation (of a fake as genuine) is a ground under the law for claiming against a credit card issuer, but the purchaser must have had his eyes open and not have paid an obviously wrong price, such as £150 for Rolex watch.

If you have unwittingly bought a counterfeit product costing more than £100 and been unable to get redress from the supplier, you can make a claim against the card issuer.

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