Shopping for gifts online: what to watch out for?

Some statistics…

In 2019, the total online gift purchase by Quebec adults was estimated at $ 12.45 billion, which represents an increase of 19% compared to 2018.2.


In 2020, in the context of the pandemic, 28% of adult Internet users mentioned having personally changed their online shopping habits since the start of the coronavirus crisis.2.


Now, as the 2020 holiday season approaches, it is to be said that gift shopping will be done much differently.

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The holiday shopping craze is unlikely to be at its peak this year.


With all the repercussions of the coronavirus on our purchasing habits, the atmosphere created by the various sanitary measures to be observed during our in-store visits, the closure of several of our favorite businesses and boutiques, it is very likely that several people will choose to shop for holiday gifts online this year.


Certainly, this provides many advantages but still deserves that we be a little more vigilant.

Buying gifts online is far from risk free

For example, several traders take the opportunity to set up very subtle tricks. As buyers, you have to be on the lookout and beware of several elements.


Keep in mind that tempting offers that seem to be too good to be true should trigger questions.


In addition, please note that offers that you receive without having requested it or without being a subscriber are sometimes fraudulent and do not necessarily represent good business.

I suggest you some tips for detecting scams when shopping for gifts online!


Make sure you have plenty of time to do the right research. The online shopping process can sometimes be long and it can be easy to get lost. I suggest you take notes and save the visited sites to your favorites.


This action will take little of your time and will greatly help you to take stock at the end of your research.


First of all, I advise you to install a good anti-virus. This will help filter out malicious websites!



Nothing is more effective than “surfing” the internet while being protected!


Here are some examples of software: Kaspersky, Avast, Norton, etc. Seek advice from professionals in the field and avoid much trouble! Second, I believe that it is essential to always verify the identity of the trader. Also, favoring online purchases from sites with recognized banners is always more reassuring. If this is not the case, have the reflex to push your investigation further …

Are all contact information found on the website?


Equally important is the full address, phone number, email address, is there a number for customer service? Is customer service accessible in my language and easily reachable? If in doubt, do not hesitate to call to verify the authenticity of the company.


The Registraire des entreprises site can be a very useful tool


In the case of Quebec merchants, I frequently use the site of the Registraire des entreprises du Québec, because it allows me to find out about the existence of a company and learn more about the merchant in question.


Also, many sites offer a section where customer comments are collected. How exciting I find reading this section! Go read! Does this merchant accumulate good or bad comments?


Please protect your personal information when shopping for gifts online.


When I use the online service for my purchases, I only share information that is useful for carrying out my transaction, no more.


A few visual elements allow me to see if I am dealing with a secure website. Prefer an internet address that starts with “https”. In most cases, this represents an encrypted and secure address.


Also, the presence of a small icon in the form of a closed padlock often appears next to my toolbar or at the bottom of the page. This is a good clue as to the security of the site I am shopping on.

Before completing your transaction, be sure to double check that the return and refund policies are right for you.


Note that the law does not oblige the merchant to refund your item.

On the other hand, even if traders are free to set their own policies, they see themselves respecting the rules they put forward.


Every merchant, regardless of domain, should have a section on their site citing reservation, cancellation, refund policies, etc. If this is not the case, there is something doubtful under the rock … it’s up to you, but for me it’s No!


I do not want to neglect to never tick the boxes asking me to memorize my bank details! Better to enter them manually for each transaction and minimize the risk of fraud!


There are also other payment solutions such as prepaid cards, Paypal or less popular, wire transfer.


When your transaction is paid and completed, be sure to take a screenshot of the transaction confirmation number.


Theoretically, you should receive, in your email box, a copy of your invoice with all the details, including the expected delivery date if it is a material item.


Print a copy for your personal records.

In the case of a reservation, it is always recommended to have a copy of your invoice in hand on your arrival. It is essential to monitor your bank account and ensure that the correct amount is credited to it.

In short, these key elements should be monitored and will make your online shopping experience more enjoyable and less stressful! By dint of practicing it, you will become pro and realize how online shopping can become a must and save a lot of time, avoid the madness of the stores and make a lot of purchases efficiently sitting comfortably on your favorite sofa and this, glass of wine in hand from the comfort of your home in your slippers!

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