Avoid hidden charges when paying for purchases online.
Buying products and services online can save time and give you access to the latest. However most people are only worried about identity theft or fraud when shopping online and overlook hidden charges and fees.
These hidden charges and fees may go completely undiscovered or it may be months before one realizes they are being charged a monthly fee for something.
Always review the purchase and checkout before submitting payment.
This should go without saying, but always check the ‘shopping cart’ or final checkout before hitting the submit or process payment button. Check that all quantities, items, and prices are correct.
Check below the subtotal for any taxes, shipping, and additional fees. Remember that ‘free shipping’ offers may only apply on certain purchases, so make sure you’ve met the requirements for free shipping before completing an order.
Read the fine print.
This is especially true when signing up for any subscription service, free trial service, or website access. Many times these sites may offer introductory rates, free trial periods, or automated billing to those who sign up. Always check to make sure that you won’t be billed month after month or yearly for these services if you only signed up for one month or a trial period.
Some subscription services and online accounts will, by default, select the ‘auto pay’ option. This means that the credit card you use will be billed per the subscription plan such a a monthly bill until you cancel.
Some websites are notorious for tricking users into buying a trial subscription at a low price then kicking in a higher monthly rate later. Many times this isn’t discovered by the consumer for months, even years after the fact.
By reading the fine print and unchecking any automatic payment options you can prevent this from happening.
Be sure to check the return policy on the site that you are buying from. Some sites may refuse to accept returns or issue refunds on certain items and purchases. As far as hidden fees go, you could be assessed a return, restocking fee, or other fee associated with returning an item.
Look out for hidden fees such as automatic subscriptions, return fees, and extra processing fees. Also make sure your purchase meets the requirements for special offers such as free shipping, bonus products, or discounts. Never finalize an order without reading the fine print and double checking your checkout page.�