It is no secret that the best prices for any major purchase are online. Ecommerce has taken the world by storm, and online furniture stores are no exception. Even your local brick and mortar furniture stores will probably offer online shopping and delivery arrangements, especially since the pandemic prompted most companies to do business virtually whenever possible.
Although these stores are not offering the best prices, they are, in general, trustworthy. The same might not be true of online furniture retailers, particularly those based in other countries. It is important that you know how to recognize a legitimate furniture dealer to protect your investment and your money.
Online shopping scams were the most common type of wire fraud reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2020. The scams aren’t new, but with the shift from in-person shopping to online ordering made them much more apparent in the last two years.
Here are some things to look for when you want to buy loveseat online when you visit website for online furniture stores.
Watch for these warning signs
There are a lot of red flags that a website might not belong to a reputable online furniture store, but not everyone knows how to recognize them. Some of the biggest red flags you should watch for include:
- The URL starts with “http” instead of “https.” Https indicates a valid SSL security certificate, also indicated by a padlock symbol to the left of the URL in your browser. This ensures your information is protected.
- Vague contact information, or lack of business address or origin
- SEO spam in the comments of blogs and other site content
- A site with numerous popups, or popups that cannot be dismissed to use the site without purchase or sign up
- A site without a return policy
You also need to watch the domain name carefully. Some illegitimate online furniture stores will use a URL similar to an established brand or online store in an attempt to gather personal information from their potential customers. This is blatant fraud and should be reported right away regardless of jurisdiction.
Look at online reviews for both store and brands
Like your local furniture store, online furniture stores carry particular brands based on their agreements with furniture manufacturers. The difference is that online stores have the ability to carry a much larger selection of brands and collections. Because the retailer does not have direct control over the brand, you should check reviews for both the online store and the brands they carry.
While you are sifting through reviews, look for these warning signs of an illegitimate or irresponsible online furniture store.
- Brand reviews should indicate that the furniture is of high quality, is under warranty, and that warranties are honored.
- Website reviews should indicate that the furniture store operates in an ethical manner, including reasonable shipping options and return policies.
- Reviews from a specific furniture store may also contain information about customer satisfaction and the resolution of shipping or damaged items.
If you are reasonably cautious about the furniture websites that you do business with, you should have no issues finding the perfect furniture at a reasonable price at an online storefront that is trustworthy.