Internet shopping

Shopping on the internet and having goods and groceries delivered to your door can be a practical solution for many people with sight loss.

Shopping online offers many advantages:

  • You can shop any time of the day or night.
  • You have a vast amount of choice – if you don't see what you want on one site you can simply move on to the next.
  • When buying groceries you can check the cooking instructions.
  • You can compare prices from hundreds of different sellers.
  • You can read product reviews from other customers.

Internet safety

Shopping online is safe, as long as you take some precautions.
  • Make sure you create strong passwords for your online accounts and don’t use the same password for all of them.
  • Don’t use public wi-fi. Your standard data connection is more secure.
  • For expensive purchases (goods costing more than £100), pay by credit card rather than debit card if possible, as a credit card will give you greater protection if things go wrong.
  • Don’t put in your card details unless you are convinced the internet page is secure.
  • Look for a gold padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window.
  • Make sure the website address begins with “https://”. The “s” stands for “secure”. This isn't an iron-clad guarantee, but still worth checking for.

Before you purchase something online, ask yourself:

  • Do I trust the vendor?
  • Do they have a secure website?
  • What are their delivery times and how much do they charge?
  • What is their returns policy?
  • Can I contact them if something goes wrong?
  • Are there any hidden charges?
  • Could it be a scam? (Signs that something might be a scam include deals that are too good to be true, or being asked to pay for something in an unusual way, e.g. by bank transfer.)

Protecting your computer

Even if you're dealing with a legitimate merchant, you're at risk if your computer is infected, so make sure that your computer is secure. Keep your operating system and browsers updated and use a good and up-to-date internet security programme.

Using assistive technology

Assistive technology is designed to help enable blind or partially sighted people to use technology effectively. There is a wide range of assistive technology available to help with using the internet, including in-built options in laptops, tables and smartphones, specialist hardware and assistive software packages. Visit our technology section for more information.

Your rights as an internet shopper

As an internet shopper, you have the right to:

  • information about goods and services before you buy
  • a confirmation of your order in paper, by email or another format you can save for future reference
  • a cooling off period of up to 14 days in which to cancel your order if you change your mind (different arrangements exist for food ordered via the internet)
  • protection of your credit card against fraud.

More on shopping online and keeping safe

You can get detailed advice on how to shop safely and protect yourself against fraud, your rights and how to resolve problems with online orders from these sources: