BBB Tip: Online shopping boom could mean shipping delays
Milwaukee, Wis. – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12 percent of retail takes place online. Consumers had to change and adapt new strategies for getting groceries, stocking household items, refilling medicine, and buying gifts since the COVID-19 pandemic started. With an influx of online ordering and delivering, it has had a ripple effect on the logistics and shipping of orders, as well as the processing of returns if an order is just not right. This causes a backlog of deliveries for both the sending and returning of packages.
Before placing an order online, consider the following:
- Check out the retailer on BBB.org. Fraudsters are notorious for spoofing well-known brands and companies by creating lookalike websites and taking personal and financial information before the buyer realizes it’s not real. Carefully check out reviews on businesses that have pop up ads on social media sites. Manually type in the name of the merchant in the search bar and consider ordering from retailers that you’ve dealt with in the past.
- Before making a purchase, review the merchant’s return policies. Many have changed what they will or won’t accept in returns. These details are often found at the bottom of the web page and should be reviewed carefully. Also, make note of the shipping policies. While many businesses offer free shipping, notice the amount of time it takes for delivery or if expedited shipping is available for a nominal charge. Consider if the item being ordered is urgent or can wait a couple of days.
- Always use a credit card. If possible, avoid using a third-party payment provider or prepaid card. Credit card companies are more likely to provide refunds in the event of theft, loss, and other issues.
- Once the order is placed and a tracking number is provided, verify the tracking through the shipping company. The link to follow the package may not be active until the retailer creates the label and physically packages the order. Once the link is live, verify it through the shipper’s website.
- Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click! Instead, verify from the merchant or the actual shipping vendor.
- See if there is an alternative pick up or delivery option. Many retailers are offering curbside pick up or in-store pick up options with a price reduction for orders.
- Watch for your package arrival. Even though many people are working from home or have a camera/surveillance installed on the home, it’s still necessary to keep watch for the arrival of packages. Ask neighbors to pick up packages that are delivered if you aren’t home, or have them delivered at the workplace if it’s allowed.
As the pandemic continues, learn more ways to stay smart while shopping online.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.
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