The Netcheck Commerce Bureau was established in 1995 to promote ethical business practices worldwide and to increase consumer and corporate confidence in purchasing products and services on the Internet.
We have developed SCAMALERT to assist you in protecting yourselves when purchasing on the Internet. Our goal is to educate and inform consumers. A smart consumer is a safe consumer.
FYI - POINTS TO BE AN EDUCATED CONSUMER:
- NO FORMAL IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED to place a Website on the Internet.
- NO FORMAL IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED to register a company with InterNIC or any other Domain processing agency.
- NO FORMAL IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED to have an email address.
- NO FORMAL IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED by ISP's to host a Website.
It is vitally important to know who you are purchasing from. Because of the unsecured nature of the Internet, the gathering of information about who you are dealing with is a very important step before purchasing products and service on the Internet.
10 EASY STEPS WHEN PURCHASING ON THE INTERNET
- A Website can appear as if the company is firmly established and has been in business for years. Information about the company is your first key to successful shopping. A few questions to ask yourself before purchasing:
- Does the Company's Website display a 'Member of Netcheck' logo on their site?
- Does the Company clearly provide their Contact information on their Website and can you easily locate it?
- Does a Company clearly provide their physical street address, phone, fax, and email address and can you easily locate it?
- Contact information is vitally important. If a phone number exist for a company on their Website you may want to call the number before making your purchase. A few things to look for or ask when you make your call.
- Is the phone answered in a professional manner?
- If you receive a voice mail or answering machine, is your message returned in a timely manner?
- Gather contact name(s) of who you are talking to, and any other names such as Principal(s) of the company, Customer Service Supervisors, etc.
- Are your questions answered to your satisfaction?
- IF THE COMPANY IS IN-STATE, OUT-OF STATE, OR OUT-OF-COUNTRY AND YOU ARE CORRESPONDING BY eMAIL, DOES THE COMPANY:
- Answer your emails in a timely professional manner?
- Provide full contact information at the end of their email.
- Gather contact name(s) of who you are corresponding with, and any other names such as Principal(s) of the company, Customer Service Supervisors, etc.
- Answer all your questions to your satisfaction?
- DOES THE COMPANY PROVIDE A PHYSICAL STREET ADDRESS LOCATION OR JUST A PO BOX ADDRESS?
- Be Careful if only a PO Box address is given. However, you will find that many legitimate home base businesses only display a PO Box address because they work out of their home and are careful about privacy issues. If the company is legitimate they will not mind providing a customer with their physical street address for your records.
- CAREFULLY REVIEW THE PAYMENT METHODS A COMPANY WILL ACCEPT:
- THE SAFEST METHOD OF PAYMENT ON THE INTERNET IS BY USE OF CREDIT CARD. In the event your purchase is not what you ordered, merchandise is defective, merchandise is not delivered, services are not rendered as originally specified, etc. you will have recourse with your credit card company to dispute the charge.
- If the company only accepts money orders or checks and you are requested to send your order and money to a PO Box, it is best to follow the above suggestions and call the company by phone or contact them through correspondences several time via eMAIL before you place your order. Your recourse if the merchandise you ordered is defective, merchandise is not delivered, services are not rendered as originally specified, etc. is limited by this ordering process.
- CAREFULLY REVIEW THE COMPANY'S ORDERING PROCESS, SHIPPING TIME TABLE, COMPANY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ON ALL RETURNED MERCHANDISE, RESTOCKING FEES IF APPLICABLE AND ALL GUARANTEES/WARRANTIES ON THE PRODUCT(s) BEFORE YOU PLACE YOUR ORDER:
- Does the company clearly state their ordering policies and procedures on their Website?
- Does the company clearly state their shipping time frames from the date order is received to fulfillment and shipping?
- Does the company clearly state their shipping methods? Do they ship through the Post Office, Federal Express, UPS, Airborne, etc. Will you need to be at home to accept and sign for it? Does the company ship their products with insurance? These are good questions, and it is important for you to know the answers.
- Does the company clearly state their policies for returning a product? Are there any restocking fees, and if so, what are they? This is a very important issue to make yourself clear on. We have found that some company's on the Internet are not publishing their restocking fees until a customer chooses to return a product and then attempts to charge as much as up to, an 80% restocking fee. Be Careful.
- Does the company require a RMA# (Returned Merchandise Authorization Number) before you return a product?
- CAREFULLY READ ALL return policies and FOLLOW THEM EXACTLY. It is also best when returning a product to spend the extra money and return it insured, certified mail - receipt requested. This way you will receive confirmation that the company did in fact received their merchandise back, you will have record of the date it was delivered, and a signature of who received it. With insurance, if it is lost or damaged in the return process you will be able to recoup the loss of the product. In the event of problems, you have proof that you returned their product to gain your refund.
- Does the company clearly state their refund policy, and the time they refund back to the customer? . . . One week upon receipt of goods, Two weeks, three weeks, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc. Check this out!
- FYI: If you paid by credit card, most credit card companies REQUIRE a merchant to provide a charge-back on all credit card charges where their is a refund or dispute. If you paid by credit card ask the company to credit your account. We have found through our experiences that depending on the card company you use to purchase, that it can take anywhere from between 5 days to one billing cycle for a charge-back to appear. It is important that when paying by credit card (YOUR SAFEST METHOD) you clearly understand the policies and time period of charge-backs/credits from your card company.
- Does the Company you are purchasing from guarantee/warranty the product or service? Does the manufacturer or the Company you are purchasing from provide the guarantee/warranty? Are you responsible for shipping charges that may apply in the event you need repairs? What is the length or duration of the guarantee/warranty?
- Do all the above requirements meet your needs?
- ARE YOU PURCHASING A SERVICE AND NOT A HARD PRODUCT?
- Does the company provide an agreement between themselves and the customer? CAREFULLY read all written agreements between you and the company so that you have full understanding and knowledge of what you can expect, when you can expect it and the payment arrangements required on your part. READ THE FINE PRINT!
- Oral Agreements work, but it is best to put everything in writing. This protects both you as a consumer and the company in the event there is a dispute. This prevents the 'he said ... she said ...' syndrome!
- REMEMBER THE OLD ADAGE-
. . . "IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!!!
- Nothing in our lives is for free. Be Careful of FREEBIES, inevitably hidden charges always appear and ultimately end up costing you!
- Before committing yourself and money to a 'business opportunity', research it thoroughly. Remember if you can make $2,000+ per week, ask yourself this questions . . If it was that easy, wouldn EVERYONE be doing it. Only HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT will produce a viable income.
- Be Careful of 'Work at Home' opportunities. Again, thoroughly investigate a company. This enables you to make a informed decision before making a money investment. Many companies out there on the Internet only provide information, not a job. What you will find in many cases, what you end up purchasing is a nothing more than a list, not a job.
- Be Careful of Sweepstakes or Contest that require you to pay any money before entering. A legitimate Sweepstakes or Contest requires no purchase necessary.
- When purchasing through an Auction, does the Auction Company protect your rights? Do they provide complaint facilitation on your behalf? Do they check out ALL the company's they allow to sell goods and services on their site? Is it your responsibility to check the company out? Do they verify the email addresses of those that rate a company? (postings of 'satisfied clients' may be the vendor placing them. Free email accounts are easy to obtain)
- SERVICES AVAILABLE TO YOU AS A CONSUMER:
- It is always best to check out a company's Consumer History with Netcheck before purchasing products and services on the Internet. This service is provided FREE of charge to the Internet Community and is made possible by our participating Members of Netcheck.
- Each individual state, province, or country may have specific laws that protect you as a consumer. It is important to know your rights.
- RECOURSE WHEN THINGS DON'T GO RIGHT:
- File a Complaint with Netcheck. It is important to let us know if you have had a problem on the Internet when purchasing products or services. Netcheck will assist you in contacting the company in question and will work with all parties toward an amicable resolution to your complaint.
- In the event your merchandise was shipped through the US Post Office, you may have rights to contact the Post Master to investigate the company in the event of fraud.
- You also have your legal rights as a consumer. You may want to consult with legal counsel in your local area.
- File a Complaint with the State Attorney Generals office within your state. If you are not located in the United States, other countries have other resources available to you to assist you with your complaint process.
The World Wide Web has a wealth of excellent products and services available to you as consumers. With technology, you are now able to purchase products and services from around the world to enrich your lives. Remember Our Netcheck Members have agreed to operate their businesses in an ethical, legal and proper manner. Our Netcheck Members thank you in advance for your patronage.
Be a smart consumer. If you have any questions, email our friendly and professional staff here at Netcheck. We are here to be of service to you.