As Australians prepare for this year's Black Friday sales, transport and logistics insurance expert NTI has shared tips on shopping online safety after finding that more than a third of Australians shop online every week, but a majority wrongly believe their purchases are automatically covered for accidental loss or damage during transit.
NTI's latest survey ahead of Black Friday showed that 56% of people were surprised to learn it is their responsibility to take out shipping and delivery insurance to protect their goods because couriers and delivery companies are not obligated to provide cover beyond reimbursing the cost of the freight, while online retailers are still in a grey area.
What's worse, the survey found that only 7% of the respondents were always offered shipping and delivery insurance.
“The survey found 93% of consumers say they are only occasionally (37%), rarely (30%), or never (25%) offered shipping and delivery insurance when purchasing online,” said NTI national cargo product manager Dan Morrison. “It means they're taking a gamble. If an item doesn't arrive or it turns up broken or damaged and they don't have insurance, they are not covered.”
Eight of 10 (81%) respondents claimed that they would go directly to the retailer when encountering a problem with their online purchase. Meanwhile, those aged 18 to 34 are more likely to go to the courier or delivery company.
Therefore, Morrison advised consumers to check the terms and conditions and see what, if any, insurance is offered or included in the price before checking out and entering their credit card details.
NTI shared the same reminder during the Black Friday sales last year, emphasising the importance of insuring goods purchased online, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay at home and resort to online shopping.
“As consumers, we tend to assume that if we buy goods here in Australia, they'll be delivered, but sellers aren't necessarily obligated to cover goods on delivery. They may leave it for the buyer/receiver to work it out,” said NTI chief executive officer Tony Clark.
On the bright side, Clark claimed that the e-commerce industry has evolved as more consumers resort to online shopping amid the pandemic, with several freight movers and marketplaces already partnering with insurers for shipping and delivery insurance.