Consumer Ombudsman: What consumers should be careful about when shopping online



In the first ten months of 2020, the reports – cases related to e-commerce to the Consumer Ombudsman were launched to 2,770. It is recalled that in 2018 the reports – cases amounted to 814 and in 2019 reached 1396. The Independent Authority “Consumer Ombudsman”, after the last measures to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic and in view of the expected turn of consumers to online transactions (e-commerce), returns and reminds that special care is required when buying consumer goods at a distance. There are many reputable and reliable online stores (e-shops), but there are also stores that use unfair commercial practices, as noted in a statement. An independent authority states that it has been observed that consumers have prepaid the value of the order in the online stores, but neither their products are delivered nor the money collected in advance is returned. In many cases it has been observed that these companies after the transaction cut off all communication with consumers so that they can not receive any information in relation to the purchases they have made or in relation to the return of their money. In 2018, the reports – cases related to e-commerce amounted to 814. In 2019 they reached 1396 while in the first ten months of 2020 they jumped to 2770. The Consumer Ombudsman, within his responsibilities, highlighted the above unfair and misleading commercial practices, issued recommendations to suppliers who have violated consumer protection legislation and forwarded these cases to the General Secretariat for Trade and Consumer Protection for the imposition of the prescribed penalties. At the same time, given the necessity and the criminal investigation of these cases, he proceeded to announce possible criminal acts to the competent Prosecutors of First Instance. The Consumer Ombudsman, with a relevant press release, recommends to consumers for better protection: – To prefer from reputable and well-known online stores. An important sign of reliability is the long-term operation of the stores in the market and the existence of their physical headquarters. – Always check the basic information provided about the online store by its website. Look for the company name and full contact details, including postal address. Having only an e-mail address and a mobile phone is not enough and is a sign of fraud. – To find on the internet any comments, experiences or recommendations of other consumers who have already traded with the store. This is easily done by typing the name of the company or online store into a search engine. Approach recommendations with a critical eye, as they may be misleading or fabricated. – Be sure to check before payment that the site provides a secure connection for the transmission of sensitive data, such as credit card information. Make sure the Secure Data Transfer symbol appears in the ‘Browser Address’ – HTTPS format field. In this way they ensure that the e-shop has SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), ie a protocol for secure transmission of sensitive data on the internet, especially for purchases with credit-debit cards and paypal. – The recognized online stores have trust marks of the associations e-commerce and organizations holding certificates of security and privacy of personal data. This shows that the company is reliable and follows the basic rules in online transactions, so the consumer can buy from it safely. – It is pointed out that social media can also function as advertising space but not online stores. – Do not are persuaded by the overly attractive prices of the products in relation to the competition or, in any case, this should not be the only criterion for the realization of their purchases. .– In case of serious indications of a problematic transaction, to immediately challenge their banking institutions, if the payment of the goods has been made by card (debit or credit) and, respectively, to the electronic payment organizations (eg paypal) .– Finally, consumers should receive a confirmation of the order, which to keep together with any other document related to it. If you need to contact the merchant, prefer the email. In this way, in case of a problem, they will have at their disposal practical proof of their contact-communication, as well as all the details of the transaction that have been agreed. Latest News from Greece and the World, at



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