Checklist for online shopping
Buying products online is quick and easy. However, you surely want the product you buy to be safe for you and your environment. You should be particularly careful when you are buying foodstuffs, feed, seeds, fertilisers, plants or pets online from a seller that is not well-established or well-known.
Pay attention to the following before making the purchase:
In which country is the company located?
- Even if the company has a Finnish-language website, it may not necessarily be located in Finland.
- Even if the website has a .fi domain name, the company may not necessarily be located in Finland. To check the details of .fi domain name holders, visit the website of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
- Think twice before ordering if the online shop is located outside the EU. There is no guarantee of the safety or quality of the products offered by such sellers.
- It is very difficult for the authorities to help you if the online shop is located outside the EU.
- If the online shop is located in another EU Member State, the supervisory authorities can intervene in illegal sales activities by requesting supervisory assistance from the authorities of the Member State in question.
From whom are you buying?
- Is the seller a company, an organisation or a private person?
- Do not buy if you are not sure about the seller.
Does the company have an address and a phone number?
- Do not buy if the company does not provide its exact street address and phone number that you can contact, or if it only gives its PO box address.
- You should also be suspicious if the address given by the company for its online shop is the same as the address of some other well-known organisation. For example, if the address is located in the administrative building of the University of Helsinki.
- The company must provide extensive information about itself and its products.
- If the information is not provided, the company may have something to hide.
What feedback has the seller received from other customers?
- Check the feedback that other customers have given on the seller or the product.
- Has most of the feedback been positive?
- Remember, however, that the company’s representatives may also take part in these discussions and praise their own products.
Are there plenty of spelling mistakes or funny words in the information about the online shop?
- This may indicate that the pages have been translated by a machine.
- In that case, the business operations are not on a professional basis and you should think twice before buying from such an online shop.
Is it safe to purchase products from the online shop with a credit card?
- Check whether the connection is encrypted before making the payment. The connection is encrypted if the www address of the payment page starts with ‘https’ (and not with ‘http’).
- Keep your computer’s information security up to date.
Are the products on sale incredibly cheap?
- If the prices are significantly lower than the prices in other online shops, the whole thing may be too good to be true.
- You cannot get high quality at a low price.
After making the purchase:
What should you do if the products did not meet the expectations?
- A 14-day right of withdrawal applies to most products purchased online and you can cancel your purchase during this period for no special reason. (Right of withdrawal in e-commerce).
- If you want to make a complaint about the product, follow the instructions provided by the consumer advisory services).
- If you suspect that the foodstuffs you have ordered are of poor quality, they are not safe or the information on the products is not correct, report the matter to your local food control authorities (Contact information for food control authorities).
- If you suspect that the plant or plant product that you have ordered (such as a wooden decorative product purchased from abroad) contains quarantine pests, report the matter to the Finnish Food Authority (Report quarantine pest (in Finnish)).
- If you suspect that seeds have been marketed in violation of the Seed Trade Act, report your observations to the Finnish Food Authority (Report market suspicions (in Finnish)).
- Report the matter to the municipal or provincial veterinarian if the notification provided by the seller is suspicious or the animal you have bought is not what the seller promised or the animal falls ill soon after the purchase.
Read more about distance selling to consumers on the website of the Finnish Food Authority: