Mail order and television sales
Consider the following when ordering goods through the mail:
- Does the business have a full street address with contact details?
- Is the advertised price really lower than a regular store would charge?
- What about postage and packaging costs?
- Is it possible to return the goods and receive a refund?
- Is it possible to inspect the goods before buying them?
- Do the goods come with a warranty?
Make sure you read the 'terms and conditions' before entering into an ongoing agreement, including any that relate to money back satisfaction guarantees. Don't be fooled by heavily discounted introductory offers, as the ongoing contract may require you to purchase a large number of items at high prices.
A number of highly persuasive sales techniques are often used to sell goods on television. These include:
- available for a limited time only - eg 'ring in the next 20 minutes' or 'available to the first 50 customers only'
- personal endorsements
- highly extravagant claims.
Before buying anything advertised on television, think about whether:
- you really need it and can afford it
- your credit card details are secure when provided over the telephone
- the level of after-sales service - eg repairs, warranties - meets your expectations.
If something goes wrong
Common problems experienced by consumers include:
- having trouble getting that promised 'unconditional' refund
- delivery delays, or no delivery at all.
Before purchasing ask when the goods will be delivered. If you're unfamiliar with a product, try to sample the item at a store before ordering.