Will the Internet ever be completely safe for shoppers?

I’m asking myself this question — and others — after placing an order for some products that were promised to arrive within 7 to 14 days almost three weeks ago. I did check them out on the Internet first, and saw nothing negative about them. But they are not responding to my emails, and I am having serious doubts now.

The order only cost $27, and I placed it through PayPal, which offers some recourse for “disputed” purchases — and which I will follow up on in another week or two.

But I am hearing of more and more people placing orders with companies purportedly based in the United States — such as the one I ordered from — that are, in fact, operating out of China or India or wherever, and who never deliver the goods.

Which is all to say that scam companies like those are making it more difficult for legitimate businesses to operate, because they are sowing seeds of distrust in the minds of consumers. Exhibit A: Because I fear I have been scammed, I unlinked my credit card info from PayPal, and won’t use them again to purchase anything online. It’s not their fault I may have been scammed, but they will lose money as a result, as will other online merchants. I’ll stick to brick and mortar establishments for the time being.

So, yes, one bad apple too often spoils the bunch.

How about you? Do you trust the Wild West that is the Internet to shop? Have you been ripped off?

— Jillian