Shopping online buying guide

With a few precautions, shopping on the internet can be a safe and enjoyable experience.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:10 Jan 2007
 

01 .Introduction

Shopping cart in computer

In brief

By checking an online shop’s terms and conditions, privacy policy, complaints procedures, and whether or not it has a secure checkout, you can minimise the risks of online shopping.

  • If you have problems, being able to contact the retailer is crucial, so always note down the phone number and physical address of an online store before buying.
    Use our Checklist to help avoid hassles when buying online.
  • There’s no doubt online shopping has its risks — it’s hard to know when a company’s trustworthy, you could pay for goods that never arrive, and who knows what happens to the personal information you provide before you buy? But with some simple precautions, shopping online can be relatively trouble-free

Please note: this information was current as of January 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Where to shop online?

There are different sorts of online stores — each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Online auctions

Online auctions are popular places for trading goods. Almost everything you could possibly think of is for sale, whether you want to sell or buy goods. Register as a user, then away you go.

  • Prices can be much cheaper. Can obtain hard to get items. Can often get "past history" of users to evaluate honesty and trading. For more information read our eBay auctions article.
  • Vendors may not be willing to ship overseas. Vendors are registered with the auction house but aren't official businesses, so risk is higher

Classifieds

Similar to newspaper classifieds.

  • Can locate hard to get or used items. May get good discounts.
  • Traders history is hard to evaluate, so risks are higher.

Comparison sites

Online shopping centres, these gather a number of shopping destinations together in one location.

  • Many stores to choose from and navigating between shops is simplified.
  • May be moved between sites without being told, advertising may determine what sites are available as destinations.

Manufacturers/retailers

Online outlets for small or large stores and manufacturers.

  • Buying direct from the retailer/producer. Often a lot of information available.
  • May not get the best deal.
 
 

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 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49
 

 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49
 

 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49
 

 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49
 

 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49
 

 Table 1: Problems with different types of childcare

  Percentage who experienced the problem
Problem Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
High cost 51 17 12
High staff turnover 26 18 2
Too many children being looked after at once 22 12 12
Not enough staff 18 11 5
Fundraising for the centre (A) 13 26 4
Parking when dropping off or picking up children 13 22 5
Unsuitability of staff (not qualified or inexperienced) 13 7 9
Opening / closing times 11 16 15
Old or inadequate premises 9 12 5
Old or inadequate equipment 8 8 9
Difficult access for prams / strollers 7 6 5
Unhealthy or inadequate food 6 4 2
Security of premises (B) 5 3 7
 
Table notes

(A) For example, having to sell chocolates to raise money for new equipment.
(B) For example, stranger access; children can get out unobserved; no childproof gates.

Table 2: Percentage of survey respondents who experienced problems finding childcare*

 

Problem Overall average (%)** ACT (48 respondents) NSW (427) Queensland (216) SA (75) Victoria (298) WA (134) Capital cities (960) Regional areas (275)
Long waiting lists 64 79 66 73 56 65 49 68 51
Lack of choice of which days 44 48 45 47 48 39 45 45 39
Lack of choice of number of days 38 42 43 38 27 35 35 40 32
Lack of choice of type of childcare 28 21 27 34 23 29 28 28 28
Lack of choice of hours 18 10 21 17 16 17 22 19 17
Difficulty getting childcare outside normal working hours 14 4 18 10 5 13 18 14 15
People behind you on the waiting list getting places before you 12 10 11 16 7 13 8 12 9
 
Table notes

* Results for the Northern Territory (12 respondents) and Tasmania (25) aren’t reported on a state basis because the number of respondents from each wasn’t large enough to give an accurate representation.
** Based on 1239 respondents, including the NT and Tasmania.

Table 3: Reasons for choosing the type of childcare (%)

Reason Commercial (467 respondents) Community / not-for-profit (289) Family daycare (130)
Convenient location 73 71 51
Good premises 60 53 40
Quality of staff 52 72 55
The only one available 45 28 29
Was recommended to me 37 44 44
Convenient times to drop off and pick up 32 26 33
Good parking 17 11 10
Other 10 13 26
Cost 9 24 49