How to check the trustworthiness of a website?

You should always know from whom you are buying online. How? By consulting the “legal notice” or “general sales conditions” on the seller’s website. Their full contact details as well as other detailed information should be recorded there. Follow our tips to verify the trustworthiness of your online seller and to avoid falling for traps on the internet.

Tips to assure the seriousness of the seller

Before purchasing something on a foreign online shopping site, check:

  • The name and contact information of the seller: They should be mentioned in the legal information of the site or in the general sales conditions.
  • The mailing address: Type the address mentioned on the seller’s site in a search engine and search street views. If it shows you a brownfield, a residential neighbourhood, or any other strange place for a company that sells this type of product, move on to a different seller.
  • The URL: If the site has a name or URL that is not related to the goods sold on the site, it is not a good sign!

Example: The URL refers to the name of a construction company or sports activities when you thought you were buying clothes online!

  • Telephone number: If the phone number is shown, call it! Avoid telephone numbers that are tolled. Ask for additional information on the product, the after-sale service, or the delivery condition. How your demand is dealt with will give you a first impression of the seriousness of your seller.
  • The quality seal or brand of trust that may be displayed on the site. Find out about the rules of the award and the services and guarantees it offers.
  • French: If the site is written in a broken form of French (misspelling, a poor grasp of the language, etc.), run!
  • Other sites and forums: Other buyers may have given their opinions on your seller and their bad experiences, if any.

Secure your payment on the Internet

Before any payment on the internet, check the security of the site of payment by the appearance of a closed lock symbol and with the letters “https” (instead of “http”). NEVER share the numbers written on the front and the back of your credit card!

If you still have doubts about your online seller

  • Check the web address of the site via WHOISDENIC (for domain names ending with “.de”) AFNIC  (for domain names ending with “.fr”) to determine who has registered that site and when. 
  • Contact us. Thanks to the ECC network, research on the company can be done easily if they are registered in an EU country, Iceland, or Norway.

And when it's too late?

If you have already paid by card to a seller who has not respected his commitments, you can request a refund of the paid amount via the "chargeback" procedure.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.