'Tis the Season!
During the holidays, many of us spend more money and purchase more items than any other time of the year. Because the number of transactions we are involved in during this busy shopping season is multiplied, so are the chances that something will go wrong with a purchase …possibly FRAUD. If you have a problem, the following tips may help:
Credit Card Purchases vs. Debit Card Purchases. Debit and credit cards are treated differently by consumer protection laws. Under federal law, you’re personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card can't exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more, depending on how quickly you report it. The key difference with credit and debit cards: With credit, the card issuer must fight to get its money back. With a debit card, you must fight to get your money back. Other helpful suggestions:
Credit Card Shoppers: Shoppers tend to over spend when they use credit cards for payment. We recommend making a list or budget the amount BEFORE going into the store or online arena. Trust us…You can do a lot of damage in a matter of minutes with online shopping sites!
Debit Card Shoppers: Debit card transactions are a direct line to your bank account, there are places where you want to avoid handing it over. Avoid online shopping unless you know the difference between trusted websites. Avoid big ticket items; with a debit card you have fewer protections. Avoid using debit cards with deposit required purchases, hotel holds, etc. Don’t use your debit card at a restaurant where the payment processing leaves your sight.
Website tips: Be careful with URLs: Spammers know what they're doing. Sites can look realistic right down to the (stolen) insignias that promise online safety and security. Use familiar & secure websites. Look for the LOCK – the secure website will start with HTTPS://. NEVER store your card information and passwords on the website.
Understand your rights regarding timely shipment. Retailers must ship your order within the time specified in their ads or on their Web site. If no timetable is specified, the retailer must ship your order within 30 days. If the company cannot ship your order within the specified time, they must give you the option either to agree to the delay or cancel your order for a full refund.
Keep a record of your transactions. This includes printouts documenting orders placed online (print out the confirmation page, which will include information about your order, payment, and shipping) and any e-mails to and from retailers.
Contact the retailer about any problems. If you are not pleased with your purchase for any reason, contact the retailer. If the retailer does not make amends to your satisfaction, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.