In support of National Consumer Protection Week 2021, the Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) provides the following information. Additional information on this topic and more is available online from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Visit RMAI’s webpage for Consumers for more National Consumer Protection Week articles — like avoiding scams and finding help for rent and mortgage payments.

With the advent of COVID-19, online shopping has become a lifeline for many Americans. But for others it has become more of an addiction. Knowing the difference between the two is a strong first step toward making sound financial decisions.

Five Tips for Online Shoppers

None of us is smart enough to beat the algorithms. These are the mathematical programs running 24/7 behind all of your internet searches. Marketers use the algorithms to figure out what you like, when you like to buy, and the exact price point that triggers your decision to go to your cart and make the purchase.

  • Ignore the pop-up ads. They are designed to appeal to your interests. They rarely present you with deals on the items you need such as food to feed your family or gas to fill you tank.
  • Understand the promos. BOGO, buy one get one free, two for one, 50% more, and family size are just a few of the examples marketers use to lure you into making a purchase. Truth is they only amount to a savings if you discipline yourself to not impulse shop for other items that are not on sale.
  • Avoid website links: Most reputable online companies do not provide shoppers with any reason to click a link or move to another website. This is why you should only buy from well known, established companies.
  • Always place orders from a secure connection: Know the merchant and their reputation. Avoid offers that seem “too good to be true.” If you are buying a gift card, read the terms and conditions and never buy from a store that requires more information than necessary to make the sale.

Shopping online can be an excellent way for you and your family to avoid brick and mortar shopping and stay safe during the pandemic. But the costs of using the delivery services can add up. If you need to have your online purchases delivered, make sure you buy as much as you can afford at a time. Reducing the number of deliveries can help you save money on delivery charges.

About the Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.

About Receivables Management Association International

Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) is a nonprofit trade association representing more than 550 companies that purchase or support the purchase of performing and nonperforming receivables on the secondary market. The Receivables Management Certification Program and Code of Ethics set the global standard within the receivables industry due to the rigorous uniform standards of best practice which focus on the protecting consumers. More information about RMAI is available at