Buying Online In Spain – Tips & Tricks
Always compare like with like: in other words include delivery costs and any other extras such as credit card charges. Remember some delivery charges are sneaky – if you live in a flat there are companies that charge extra for taking a voluminous or heavy item to your door.
Know your consumer rights: when you buy online you have a 14-day “cooling off period” after the goods are received (see EU legislation summary), however you’ll normally be liable for shipping the product back to the supplier. You can also request a refund after a 30-day period if your goods haven’t shown up and the supplier has another 30 days to refund your money. Unfortunately that’s up to 60 days during which your money is in someone else’s account.
Daily deals sites: although there are some good offers, not everything is a bargain. You can check directly with a company to see if they have special rates without having to pay upfront to a website intermediary. In the UK, the Office of Fair Trading has sent warning letters out to daily deals sites there, and we doubt practices used by these types of companies are any different in Spain.
Try to get a better discount: if you sign up to a newsletter or start to make a purchase and then cancel halfway through, many companies will send you emails with discount offers that tend to get better to entice you to buy. This doesn’t always work, but it can be a good way to get discounts at a site you intend to use in the future. You can find examples of newsletter discounts on our offers page.
Don’t forget cashback sites when buying online: 4.2% back with Philips, 2.4% with Darty, etc. Check our cashback guide on how to use these sites.
If you’re worried about using a credit card online, follow these steps to protect yourself:
- Keep one credit card only for your online purchases and request the card limit at a level so that if your data is stolen then it won’t leave you owing thousands of euros.
- Try to avoid using debit cards (not easy as some websites don’t charge extra for paying by debit card). Debit cards trace directly to your bank whereas credit cards don’t.
- Report cyber crimes. Don’t think it’s a waste of time – you may not get your money back but the Spanish Police or Guardia Civil may be able to track the hackers.
- Don’t click on links without checking first, especially those with shortened URLs. Use sites such as Unfurlr.com which traces shortened URLs to see if they are trustworthy. Also check attachments and never click on those with a “html” extension as these are bogus webpages.
- Open a separate email account for online shopping different to the one(s) you have for friends, family and work. In this way it’s easier to notice spam or potentially harmful messages.
If you’re curious, in Spain the company that has the highest online sales is El Corte Inglés, followed by Carrefour. However, as Amazon only entered the Spanish market in 2011 we expect to see their market share increase soon.