Credit cards are popular
Many online shops only offer payment via credit card – you just have to enter your name and credit card number.
On the one hand this is very comfortable but on the other hand the question of safety arises. In general, the number of a credit card is not kept a secret; every waiter in a restaurant and, more importantly, every hacker on the Internet can remember the number and misuse it.
Dealing with credit cards
According to § 44 of the Austrian Financial Services Law (Zahlungsdienstegesetz, ZaDiG), in case of a non-authorised payment process the payment service provider has to refund the amount immediately and bring the charged account back to the state at which it would have been without the non-authorised payment process. This right can’t be waived. Additional claims of the payer from contract or law are not excluded due to this right.
The credit card companies expect their customers to check their accounts frequently and accurately and appeal against false accounting within certain time limits (for more information, check the relevant terms & conditions).
- Never use your credit card number on the Internet without encryption.
- Check your credit card bills frequently and accurately.
- Act immediately on unexplainable booking (by registered mail)
Secure payment options
Consumers often become victims of Internet fraud – they pay for a good they never receive.
Tips of the European Consumer Centre...
...for protection from Internet fraud:
- As far as possible, avoid advance payments
- If there is no other possibility, choose the most secure option available
A good compromise is COD orders, since you are paying to the delivery person – i.e. after receiving the goods. You should, however, take the time and nerve to actually inspect the goods before making any payments.
If you pay in advance by credit card, it is not possible to claim your money from the card company if you never receive the ordered goods. However, there are some other methods that can bring back such payments. It is best to get in touch with your card issuer when a problem like this arises. Similar terms apply for Paypal.
Trustees – beware of cheaters
Consumers have been telling us for years about a certain kind of fraudulent behaviour. Dubious companies present a lawyer or a supposedly reputable shipping company as a "trustee". However, the lawyer is fictitious and the shipping company has nothing to do with the famous cargo service. In fact, the consumers didn’t pay a trustee, but fraudsters.
Paying by check - hands off!
Attention: Regarding check payments, always keep in mind that checks can – and in most cases will – burst. Do not trust sellers with suspicious stories or buyers who offer you to pay more than the actual price.
Beware of recruitment of account handlers
Law-abiding citizens who have been offered a small contribution for payment processing unknowingly become accomplices to a financial crime, as they actually cover-up illegal cash-flaws.
First version: 12.03.2013, updated on: 06.02.2015