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Chapter 22. CONSUMER HELP > Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection

Compared to five years ago, there are good things and bad things about shopping on the Internet today. One good thing is that there is a wide variety of stores available. Another good thing is that PayPal and other online payment services make it easier to buy things online. A bad thing is that there's more fraud—at least in volume if not percentage of transactions—at online auction sites. Another bad thing is that “phishing” e-mail scams, where spam e-mail tries to persuade you to give up your credit card, PayPal, or other financially related information, are rampant. If you're going to do any kind of shopping online, it'll behoove you to keep your eyes open and remain aware of scams and other things that might affect you.

TIP

Where you decide to buy a product is up to you, whether you want to use eBay, Amazon, or one of the thousands of smaller shops on the Internet. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, consider using one of the many shopping comparison engines available. These sites provide you with information on prices for the items you're shopping for, helping you track down the lowest prices available online. There's BizRate at http://shop.bizrate.com/, Shopping.com at http://www.shopping.com/, MySimon at http://www.mysimon.com/, and lots more. While price is important when you're shopping, bear in mind there are other factors as well. If you find a place that ships promptly, always gets your order right, and has great customer service, who cares if it's a few dollars more?



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