With the amount of people now shopping on the internet, the room for fraud and dissatisfaction with service by e-mail will be bound to increase.

A lot of you may already be using a credit card to shop with. Some of you may shop by debit card or Bank Transfer. Be aware that by not using a credit card you lose the protection of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA).

If you buy an item and it doesn’t work can you send it back? Well yes, you can, but will the seller give you your money back?

You are certainly entitled to rescind a contract and give the item back, but what if your money isn’t refunded by the seller?

If you have bought the goods using Bank Transfer or Debit Card you have no redress against the bank or the debit card company. If, however, you use a credit card, then the credit card company are obliged to stand in the shoes of the seller and send back your money if the seller refuses. They will then take the matter up with the seller. This is by virtue of s 56 and s 75 of the CCA 1974.

What if the seller doesn’t have a credit card facility? Avoid using them. Credit card companies have strict approval regulations and if the seller has failed to pass the approval process, there is probably a good reason – perhaps they are not reputable?

What if you don’t like paying interest to the credit card company? Simple – pay the balance off straight away with your debit card.