Consumer Justice Concord

Good Habits


Most people tend to get better and better at things they tend to repeat over and over again. Here, we want to emphasise that there are various kinds of behaviors which you can get used to doing which will make your on-line shopping experiences that much safer. Keep in mind that you doing these things is for your own good going forward.

Some good habits you want to get into, to protect yourself while shopping on-line are as follows:

  1. When you finally get to the “check-out” screen of any on-line store, and you have the sale details all laid out in front of you, screen capture the screen as its being presented to you. (We will later here teach you how to do a ‘screen-capture’ if you are not familiar with same to help).  There are going to be issues and details on that screen which you may come to need later.  Having that proof may one day come to be very important to you.  Remember that if for any reason the check-out screen is too large for a single image, you can easily capture the screen into more than one image. Scroll down towards the bottom of your check-out screen as usually that is where all the payment details are. Capture all of the information best you can. All of it.  Save the image or images to a place which you can get to later easily.  It is one thing not to do this over purchasing a case of tooth paste or smaller stuff. But once the amount of money involved starts to become serious, protect yourself and get the images.
  2. When you finally make your choice, select the item you want, as we will assume here that you are totally sure, screen capture the item as it appears on the website. That will potentially also serve to protect you later. If the store or the merchant decides to change the images or pictures of any item on their website you are protected.  If the product images change before you actually get your item, you will have proof of the circumstances, the representation of what you ‘thought’ you were getting. That way, there can be no debate later as to what you ‘thought’ you were supposed to be getting.
  3. When your parcel arrives, the first thing that you should always get into the habit of is photographing the carton or packaging as you got it.  Remember that you still, even before you open everything up, you need insure that the box or carton are perfect.  It is possible that the packaging is perfect, but you still do not know what the condition of everything is inside that box.  If the box is damaged, you will later have proof that the shipper may have caused some kind of damage, but again, you won’t really know that until after you open the carton.  Take pictures of every side and if the labeling is on the outside as well, and it should be, take a close-up, readable picture of that also, as you received it.  All of this you will do BEFORE the package is opened.
  4. One you have photographed the outside, remove the items or items inside to see how things arrived.  I usually recommend that you also take pictures of the item or items received, so you can review things after the fact.  I would also point out that it is not uncommon that flaws, damage, things that you may not at first realize are there and can very likely come out in the pictures you take.  If it comes to be that the product is damaged, even slightly, take pictures of the item or items which are damaged for use later. Important.
  5. Once you take these first few steps, look to use or test your purchase or insure that the product or item works as you were told or was described on the website. Most stores want to know, virtually immediately, that there might be a problem. You can have every legitimate excuse under the sun why you did not start using or testing the item, but the problem is that the more time which passes like that, the more it may look that you yourself get blamed for inoperability or any problem.  The stores and merchants can and will usually assume that everything was great when you got your merchandize, as no negative feedback resulted.  But then if you do not say or do something, people can later come to assume that YOU did something to make things the way they are now. Oh, you can be totally innocent alright, but to outsiders, that is not the way it looks.  So don’t wait. Make sure that you’re happy with everything as received. Act latest within 24 hours of receipt.
  6. Keep the original packaging or carton for at least a week.  If something goes awry and you’ve already thrown out the original packaging, that lone can be a problem.
  7. READ THE MANUAL FIRST. If your item or merchandize is something which comes with a user’s manual READ THAT FIRST.  It is not uncommon that that manual may advise a new user to do something first, even before using the item. Find out what the manufacturer or vendor has to say first. Do not set out to make problems for yourself even before you get the real use of the item over time.
  8. If you are happy, delighted even tell us. We post positive remarks and reports as well. Show your gratitude to the on-line shopping world that you are pleased with what has happened. See the Alert Listings section of our web site.
  9. If the product comes with any kind or warranty, fill out the registration form shortly after you got the item.  Many companies have websites which allow you to do so if the item has a serial number.  Make sure that that is handy for you, once you begin the registration process.
  10. Take notes.  If at any time you suspect that something is wrong, take the appropriate notes soonest.  Keeping things fresh in your mind is important if you ever need to go back and recall salient points about your experience.  Its not matter of keeping a diary, but a page of important notes may come to serve you better, later on.
  11. There are psychologists and psychiatrists who can and will advise that shopping can be an addiction. That is true.  And while many folks today use credit cards to finalize or make their purchases, we all know how easy and how painful it can be to run-up your credit card balance. It is easy to do.  We would as a matter of social conscious would respectfully advise consumers that they always spend within their means. The internet can easily provide the allure of many things, great things, new things, but we would ask and counsel consumers that they please stay within their means. Of course, acquire what you want, what you must, but we all, mostly, have limits. Know what those are and stay within them.

It would be useful to point out that the larger the amount of money involved is for any purchase made, the bigger the problem could or likely loom for later. Again, an incorrect toothpaste brand is something that you may (should?) not look to go to war over. Then on the other hand, if what you got was a copy of something, used goods, not appropriate, was not in keeping with your expectations, different from what a website showed you or represented, etc. then you have every right to see justice done in your situation. Purchases into the many-hundreds or even thousands of dollars will do that. Just know that we are here to help you.

SCREEN CAPTURES – Your New Best Friend

One of the most handy tools and one of the best ways to ever prove what you saw, what you did or what things you understood, rightly or wrongly, is to do a screen capture. They provide visual proof and assurances at time when you may need them most yourself.

I personally like to direct people to the one of the most popular viewers in the world, IrfanView.   The viewer is free to download and does not have a huge leaning curve to do a screen captures at all.

The software does come with advanced features, but you will time later to get to those. Let us star with some basics to get you started; and protected.

  1. Most computer, either directly, as a single key or in combination with one other key, have a PRINT SCREEN function already.  When you are on a site, even beyond a shopping site, you can capture any image you off which is showing on your monitor.  Easy.
  2. Open IrfanView and wait until the software is completely opened.
  3. Insert into the software the screen capture you took by using CTRL + V together at the same time.
  4. The software does have easy editing capabilities by using your mouse and left click button, but not. I suggest that you save the entire image, as likely the URL where you were when you snapped the image is also showing.  If you ever needed to get back to that same page, the image will tell you.  Easy stuff.
  5. Save the image to a directory of place which will allow you easy access later.  Under ‘File’ there is a Save and Save as function which will allow you to save the image.  Easy.
  6. When you go to save the image, give the file name, what the object is, eg. “Hairdryer” “Blender” ‘Watch’ etc.
  7. Of course you can delete the image or images later, however we recommend that you keep same over whatever warranty period the item or object may have or come with.  The image could be useful to you later, if need be.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That picture may come to serve you later in important ways. If you took any photographs or snapped any picture, try to save those in the same place as your screen captures. Small work for what could be important information later.