Before you select sites that are worthy of your hard earned money, ask your friends about their experiences with online shopping sites. Another approach is to use a search engine like Yahoo or Google to search for items you plan to purchase. When you use these search engines, you will get advertised and non-advertised sites offering your searched items at different prices. Don't simple jump to the first website that offers your searched items at the lowest price. Check out a few sites before you decide where to make the purchase.
Many sites like bizrate.com or nexttag.com offer price comparisons, reviews, and shopping site ratings. Use these sites to read reviews and to do a price comparison. Sites like techbargains.com publish information on latest bargains, coupons, and discounts offered by various online shopping sites. Websites like deals2buy.com offer everyday hot deals and coupons. Monitoring this type of sites provides opportunities to get great bargains. One comparison shopping site, buysafeshopping.com, provides information on qualified shopping sites that have gone through a screening process for merchant's identity, online sales experience, and the ability to deliver purchased items.
If you have to shop with an unknown online merchant, check for their telephone number at their website. Contact someone at the merchant's physical location and talk to them. Ask them about their privacy and refund policy. If you cannot find a phone number or the phone number goes to a voice mail instead to a live person, go shopping somewhere else. There are dozens, if not hundreds, good online merchants for any items you want to buy.