Who would have thought that one day we could shop in the comfort of our own living room? Today, people tend to do a lot more shopping online vs going into stores. Although shopping inside our homes brings many advantages (it’s so easy!) it also has a few drawbacks. For those who are cautious or want more information before shopping online, here are some tips and tricks that will help guide your experience.      

 

Unknown online stores:

  • If you are looking to buy something from an online store and you are unsure whether the store is trustworthy or not, I would suggest researching before placing your order. First, explore the site itself. The quality of the site will reflect its credibility. Another idea, although seemingly silly, is to confirm that the store really exists by finding their contact information.

  • Take a look at the store’s social media. The number of followers will say a lot. Read the comments and the reviews and you will find a lot of pertinent, important information.  

  • Note that all the stores featured on our site labelsco.com are real, credible online stores.

Currency and country of residence:

  • Before making an online purchase, double-check the currency that the site operates in. Online stores exist on the international market so it is possible that they use American, European or another type of currency.  

  • Be careful with promotions! Read the fine print because more often than not, promotions will apply only locally – for example, they may apply only to Americans, and not to someone ordering from Canada.  

  • Certain laws, like the consumer protection law, only apply to Quebec suppliers. It’s important to be cautious and attentive when shopping on foreign websites. If ever there are any issues with your purchase, it might be more difficult to ensure your rights are respected. To avoid conflict, it is best to deal with local or Canadian merchants.

 Sizing guide:

  • When it comes to sizing, many online stores offer a sizing guide to help you pick the right size. All you have to do is take your measurements and find which size best aligns with them. Some stores will also indicate the height and size of the model which will give you a better idea of what size to choose. 

Duties and taxes:

  • All articles over $20 CAD that are purchased internationally are subject to GST/HST (as well as the QST in Québec) applied to the total value of the article. On top on this, it is also required to pay duties and for these, it is not possible to estimate the amount as it will depend on the nature of the article you are buying. When you receive your package through Canada Post, you are required to pay taxes/duties prior to receiving your package. If you are unable or do not want to pay these fees, Canada Post will return your package to the sender free of charge and the supplier will issue a refund for your purchase.

  • To avoid paying duties, opt for Canadian online boutiques such as Oak + Fort, Aldo, Frank + Oak, SSENSE, Aritzia, Womance, Vestibule, or other stores featured in this article.  

  • There are also several merchants that have Canadian warehouses like H&M, Sephora and Zara. At these stores, you can shop worry free because no duties will apply to your purchases.

  • If you are still unsure if duties will apply to your purchase, simply call the merchant’s customer service to identify where the package will ship from. If it’s from Canada, you’re safe! If that’s not the case and you are still interested in the product, simply plan to pay an additional amount.

Shipping and Returns

  • When shopping online, it is also important to consider shipping fees. Several merchants will offer free shipping when you spend X amount of money or even offer free ship-to-store options to save on delivery fees.

  • When ordering, make sure the merchant displays and outlines their privacy, return, exchange and refund policies.  If the information isn’t there, contact their customer support.

Delivery estimates:

  • When you complete your purchase, the estimated delivery time will be indicated. If you want the item delivered sooner, many stores will offer express shipping at an added cost.

  • If you buy locally, delivery estimates are much shorter than when you buy internationally. Another advantage of local shopping!

Your personal information:

  • Be careful with the information that you divulge. Information like your birthday should not be a required field. A business should only be asking you for your name, your card number and your contact information.

  • Only shop with stores that clearly state their contact information (telephone number and address). This way, in case of any issues, you’ll know where to reach them.

  • Be sure to always ship to your billing address to avoid having your transaction denied. Merchants will sometimes turn down such orders to avoid fraud.

Secure websites:

  • Anytime you’re making purchases online, be sure that you are doing so from a website with a secure checkout. The easiest way to identify secure checkouts is to look for HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP) at the beginning of the URL in the address bar when you reach the payment page. The S signifies a guarantee that the payment processing is encrypted.

  • If you don’t see the HTTPS, be sure that the site in turn has a closed pad-lock icon before the URL in the address bar. This is an alternative method used for indicating a secured connection.

  • If you have an anti-virus software, it will have the ability to identify sites that are secure and detect those that will expose you to malware. Sites containing such threats will record any information that you provide on the page, so avoid them at all costs.

 

Have a nice shopping!

- Marilyn

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