Making It Safer to Shop Online

October 2000
by Reid Goldsborough

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Even if you haven’t experienced it, you’ve undoubtedly read about it. Shopping on the Internet-whether as a consumer or as a business-is exploding in popularity. Various studies indicate that from one-quarter to one-half of all Americans have now placed at least one order online. Some analysts believe that eventually e-commerce will account for one-fifth of all retail sales (the figure today is between 1 to 5%, depending on who’s doing the counting). The numbers for business-to-business e-commerce are even higher. There’s no better way to locate hard-to-find items or to comparison-shop for the best deals. I’ve shopped for cars and plane tickets on the Web, and recently I bought boogie boards for my kids, videos for my wife, and specialty bath mats and pillow wedges for the house (all items I couldn’t find in local stores) at excellent prices. It’s seems that e-commerce is having a society-wide impact, helping to fuel the economy’s decade-long expansion, the longest since records were first kept 150 years ago. Could this be a perfect new marketplace?

Buyer Beware

Well, to almost every upside there’s a downside. With e-commerce, you need to beware of scams and foul-ups as businesses and entrepreneurs eager to cash in on the “Internet gold rush” do so ill-prepared or with venal motives. The incidence of outright fraud appears to be low, with exceptions in the areas of pyramid schemes, and to a lesser extent, online auctions. More common problems are featured prod…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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