Whatever you buy online, there's always an element of risk attached with the purchase. Is the website genuine? Will my personal information be kept safe? Will my product actually arrive, and what happens if it's damaged or needs returning? These are common questions that run through the minds of anyone shopping online.
In particular, if you're making an expensive purchase online, such as a luxury watch, 'is buying watches online safe?' will be a question that you'll be especially keen to explore.
Although most online retailers are genuine, and you shouldn't experience any issues in most cases when buying watches online, it's important to know that the occasional fraudster infiltrates the market, and it's these that you need to avoid at all costs. Here are some essential tips for buying watches online.
Make sure you know who you are buying from when purchasing watches online. Scrutinise an online retailer's website for information about them, but don't necessarily take a website at face value, as even some fake sites can look incredibly convincing. Do a search of the retailer online to see what information this throws up.
In particular, when looking at a retailer's website, take time to study its terms and conditions. Make sure the information it provides is clear, understandable and transparent. Find out what the policies are if you need to return a watch, and whether the watch comes with a warranty. A reputable watch retailer should offer a money back guarantee if you aren't satisfied with your purchase.
Choose an online retailer who is an authorized dealer of a particular brand, and possesses industry credentials or accreditation that reinforces its quality status.
For peace of mind, you might wish to purchase a branded watch from a well-known, established website, but don't necessarily dismiss sites that you've never heard of before. They could be a start-up or operate in a niche market, and as long as you do your research beforehand and are satisfied that the site is genuine, there shouldn't be any cause for concern.
One of the most important tip for buying branded watches online is to read other customer reviews. The internet has made it possible to voice opinions about any retailer, whether good or bad experiences and by consulting these reviews, you get an impartial view of what you can expect from a particular online watch retailer.
Try to get a balanced view and don't be swayed too much by the odd negative opinion. Everyone has different ideas and expectations, and in some cases, someone could have left a bad review simply because they bought a watch that wasn't right for them, even if there's nothing inherently wrong with the watch!
When asking 'is buying watches online safe?' you can get a good idea of what to expect by asking other people who have already purchased a timepiece over the internet. Even if you don't have any personal contacts you can ask, get yourself onto any relevant watch forums or chat rooms and ask others what they think, or what they can recommend.
A good way to get more of a feel for an online watch retailer is to get in contact with its customer services. If there is no option to do this on a website, alarm bells should start ringing.
Speak to an agent and see how well they answer any questions you have. Do they come across as knowledgeable and friendly? If so, this bodes well. On the other hand, if you contact customer services by email or chat, and get no reply after a day or two, this could indicate the site is bogus.
When buying a branded watch, you'll want to get the best price possible, but have a rough idea of what you can realistically expect to pay for the particular watch you have in mind. Be wary of any websites that sell branded watches at ridiculously low prices, as there's a strong chance they might not be genuine or that the site is fake.
Read product descriptions very carefully and scrutinize a watch's specification details. Choose sites that provide as much information as possible about a watch without any ambiguous details, together with clear, sharp photos that show the watch at different angles. You won't be able to evaluate a watch until you view it in person, so finding out as much as possible beforehand can ensure you don't risk disappointment when it arrives in the post.
One of the essential tips for buying branded watches online is to ensure you choose a site that offers a secure payment system. You may prefer to pay using a source that offers a buyer protection scheme, such as PayPal.