UK banking group HBOS is to become one of the main sponsors of the "Internet Shopping is Safe" government campaign Web site. The initiative aims to increase the number of people shopping online by providing advice for businesses and consumers alike.
In the run up to the Christmas holiday season, the campaign advises consumers of the facts about online fraud, advocating it is far safer to shop online than a telephone transaction, for example. The site provides simple steps for consumers to ensure they can transact safely over the Web, including a list of approved Web sites.
Chris Milner, e-commerce channel performance, Halifax, says: "We are delighted to be a sponsor of this campaign. Shopping online is often cheaper and more convenient than a trip to the high street, so this campaign is important in showing consumers it can also be very safe."
The 'Top 10 Tips for Online Shoppers' featured on the site are:
* all of your usual shopping rights apply online: see www.consumer.gov.uk;
* know who you're dealing with: get the seller's phone number and postal address;
* be aware of terms and conditions: check payment and delivery details;
* keep records of what you order;
* EU Law protects you against fraudulent use of your payment card in EU transactions: credit cards give you extra protection;
* only give your payment card details over a secure connection, and never by email: never disclose your PIN number to anyone, and never send it over the Internet;
* you usually have at least seven days to cancel an order and request a refund from an EU retailer;
* check your payment card statement carefully: you have at least 90 days to report a suspect transaction;
* when you buy goods online from outside the EU, you are an importer and may be liable to pay any customs duty and VAT - err on the side of caution as it may be difficult to seek redress if problems arise;
* if you have a problem, contact the seller. If you need to take the matter further you should then contact the payment company, local Trading Standards Office or any 'trustmark' organisation the seller is registered with.