This article was first published in the third-quarter 2014 edition of Personal Finance magazine.

Buying goods and services over the internet is rapidly becoming a part of everyday life for many South Africans. But while local online retailers such as Kalahari and Takealot have become household names, there are many consumers for whom buying goods they haven’t seen or touched from stores that don’t exist in the conventional sense of bricks and mortar is still a daunting hurdle.

According to the latest MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study, conducted between November 2013 and January 2014, payment security is a major issue for prospective internet shoppers. The survey, which targeted South Africans aged between 18 and 64 who have bank accounts and access the internet at least once a week, showed that 40 percent of respondents were sufficiently concerned about the safety of online transactions that they had not shopped online during the previous three months. Ninety percent said the availability of secure payment facilities was critical when shopping online, and slightly more than half said online shopping would be improved if there was explicit assurance that their transactions were secure. More than half said there should be “protection against unscrupulous websites” and 48 percent wanted guarantees from financial services companies and banks that websites are safe.

“Consumers want to shop online, but they are still nervous about doing so,” is how Philip Panaino, division president of MasterCard South Africa, sums it up. Yet of those who do shop online, 87 percent reported being very or extremely satisfied with the experience.

The growth of e-commerce has been relatively slow in South Africa compared with some developing countries, according to a report by global accounting firm KPMG, but it predicts that improving broadband capacity and a fall in the cost of internet-linked devices will produce steady growth in future.

Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of technology research company World Wide Worx, which works with MasterCard on the annual online shopping survey, is equally positive. Commenting on the survey on the retail technology website ITWeb, he says it takes about five years for new internet users to graduate to using the internet for shopping, so the rapid increase in users from 2008 started to be felt by retailers from 2013. Online shopping in South Africa, it seems, is an idea whose time has come.

Goldstuck’s estimate of the value of the online retail market in 2013 is R4.4 billion, a tiny fraction of the economy, but the good news is that local e-commerce is gaining ground, according to the survey, with just 24 percent of spending done on foreign shopping sites in 2013, compared with 27 percent in 2012 and 33 percent the year before that.

Kalahari held onto its established position as South Africa’s favourite online store, but by a significantly smaller margin: 33 percent, compared with 47 percent in the previous survey. Takealot gained the most from shifts in loyalty, with 11 percent of respondents naming it as their favourite site, compared with four percent in the previous survey.

Despite the dominance of these two retailers, the survey also showed that consumers are venturing away from books, DVDs, air tickets and apps, and are making more complex and personal purchases, such as clothing (34 percent of respondents), “personal care” brands (20 percent) and groceries (38 percent) – and that these shoppers are visiting e-commerce sites as often as twice a week.

Other findings of the survey are that fewer consumers regarded shopping online as expensive (nine percent, down from 13 percent), just three percent found the sites hard to navigate and, when it came to customer service, most respondents (82 percent) said it was important to be able to communicate with a human being, via online chat or telephone.

The nine percent who consider online shopping expensive may be influenced by the perception that delivery costs inflate online product prices. In fact, a study by Kalahari conducted earlier this year shows that buying a CD at your local mall can be as much as 27 percent more expensive than buying one online. Not only was a store-bought CD R30 more expensive to begin with, but the cost of your time, fuel and parking can add an average of R70 to the bill, according to Kirby Gordon, head of brand and communications at Kalahari.

Shopping online for the same CD took three minutes instead of at least an hour, and the cost of data and delivery added only R36 to the cost. And the saving could have been greater if the purchaser had bought two or three CDs and spent more than R250, qualifying for free delivery. (More on delivery below).

Risk assessment

Wariness is understandable and sensible in the fast-changing world of technology, but, in fact, there has been legislation governing the industry since the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002 came into effect. Under this law, when transacting electronically, online businesses must:

* Allow customers to review the entire transaction;

* Allow them to correct their mistakes; and

* Give them the right to withdraw from the transaction before finally placing an order.

The legislation also requires online businesses to have security procedures in place and to apply a privacy policy to the way they handle payments and personal information. It makes the online business liable for any loss suffered by a consumer due to its failure to provide a payment system that is “sufficiently secure with reference to accepted technological standards at the time of the transaction and the type of transaction concerned”.

Under the Act, if the seller does not comply with consumer protection provisions, the consumer has the right to cancel the transaction within 14 days of receiving the goods or services. Recourse is always through the merchant first, but if this fails and you used a MasterCard/Visa credit card or cheque card for the transaction, you can turn for help to the bank that issued the card. As Takealot chief executive Kim Reid points out, card users tend to overestimate the risk involved in shopping online, since merchants and banks are required to reimburse consumers when improper transactions have taken place.

In South Africa, a further layer of protection has been added to online credit and cheque card transactions: the 3D Secure system, which requires you to input a one-time password (OTP), received via your email or cellphone, to identify yourself as the owner of the card being used in a transaction. The system has had its problems and has been poorly communicated to consumers, but Panaino believes that the additional layer of authentication between the cardholder and the card issuer reduces the risk of fraudulent online transactions and benefits both consumers and merchants. (More about how 3D Secure works under “Card payments”, below.)

Though a lot has been done to make transacting online more secure, you can do your bit to make sure you are not taken in by scam sites. These are some of the precautions you can take:

* Check that there is a small padlock symbol in the address bar and that the web address begins with https://. The “s” at the end of the “http” shows that the business has been granted a digital certificate by a certificate authority such as Symantec (the company that now owns Mark Shuttleworth’s Thawte), signifying that it is a legitimate, secure site. Only sites that display these two symbols should be trusted with your business.

* Do research on the company to find out if there have been complaints about it. Local site hellopeter.com is a well-established forum for consumer grievances and has ruined many a reputation, so it is a useful source of information. Another useful site is scamadviser.com, which rates the likelihood that the site you are about to buy something from is a scam site by measuring it against 150 different criteria, such as the number of visitors to the site and whether a “co.uk” site is not based in the United Kingdom, as it should be, but somewhere such as China.

* It is also a good idea to see if the company has a physical address, phone numbers and an email address. Having these not only underlines the company’s legitimacy, but makes it possible to contact its management if something goes wrong.

If you are unhappy about the service from an e-commerce business, you can take action in terms of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) through the National Consumer Commission.

Recent legislation seeks to improve the regulation of e-commerce by placing the responsibility for this sector under the umbrella of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), which regulates broadcasting, communications and the postal service. The Electronic Communications Amendment Act of 2014 and the Icasa Amendment Act of 2014 were signed into law on April 7 this year and will come into effect at a date yet to be announced.

Better regulation that keeps up with developments in technology is obviously desirable, and the legislation will allow the authority to expand the terms and conditions attached to its services and licences, and impose much higher fines on offenders than it can do at present: between R500 000 and R5 million, instead of R15 000 to R250 000 currently. Icasa is also required to compile and publish a code of ethics by the end of the year.

However, these amendments apply to all Icasa’s realms of responsibility, and many commentators believe that the authority is already over-burdened and will struggle to manage the complex e-commerce sector. According to a report in Business Day Live late last year, not only are there mounting concerns about the authority’s skills and resources, but the telecommunications companies would have preferred an independent regulator funded directly by the National Treasury to guarantee its independence.

While time will tell what Icasa can do to facilitate the growth of e-commerce, the retailers themselves are showing real intent to turn browsing on their sites into buying by offering a variety of payment options, swift and failsafe delivery and fair, clear returns and refund policies.

Methods of payment

One of the biggest drivers in the growth of e-commerce has been the increasing ease of transacting online. For a long time, consumers were limited to paying for goods and services with a credit card. The entry of a broader range of payment options means that even people who do not have a card can enter the market.

Card payments

Paying by cheque card and credit card remains the most widespread and convenient way of buying goods over the internet. Despite lingering anxiety about using cards online, consumers are comfortable with cards and the security protocols are well established.

Another reason for the growth in the availability of card payment systems is the role of payment service providers, such as Paygate and PayFast, which set up payment systems for businesses. Previously, a company wanting to sell goods over the internet had to develop its own payment system. And after developing the system, it had to go to the trouble of getting the banks to agree to use its system.

Needless to say, getting such agreement is no small thing, and the bar is even higher now that companies with their own systems also have to comply with the international Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which stipulates how cardholder data and personal information should be handled. The rise of payment service providers has given businesses with little or no technical skills the opportunity to transact in a space that was largely closed to them.

These payment service providers (also known as payment gateway providers) allow small and medium businesses to complete complex transactions in a few seconds. The process goes like this:

1. You submit your credit card for payment on the merchant’s website.

2. The transaction is routed to the payment service provider.

3. The payment service provider checks your card number against a database of known fraudulent card numbers, and then passes the transaction through a secure connection to the merchant’s bank.

4. The merchant’s bank sends the transaction to the credit card company (such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express).

5. The credit card company seeks confirmation that you are the card holder by routing the transaction through the 3D Secure system – usually MasterCard’s SecureCode or Verified by Visa. 3D stands for “three domains” and refers to the three domains involved in card transactions: the merchant’s bank, the financial network of the card association involved in the transaction (MasterCard, Visa and American Express are card associations, each with a network of banks that use their brands) and your bank. The system sends an OTP to your cellphone or email address, and if it is returned correctly, accepts it as proof that you are indeed the cardholder. The bank then issues an authentication receipt and authorises the payment.

6. Your bank then passes the transaction back to the credit card company, which returns it to the merchant’s bank.

7. The merchant’s bank hands the transaction back to the payment service provider, which then sends it to the website for the merchant and you to see.

8. The merchant arranges for the delivery of the goods to you.

9. Your bank sends the funds for the transaction to the credit card company, which, in turn, passes them on to the merchant’s bank, settling the transaction.

Although card payments are complex, and much swifter methods of payment are available, they remain popular because of their familiarity to consumers and well-publicised safeguards.

Electronic funds transfer (EFT)

Through EFT you pay for goods and services by transferring funds directly from one bank account to another using BankservAfrica, Africa’s largest automated clearing house. The service works as follows:

1. It redirects you from the merchant’s website to that of its payment service provider – for example, Paygate or PayFast. The service provider then asks you to register on its site and provide details of the bank account from which you want to make the payment.

2. The service provider links you to your bank’s website. Having logged in to your banking profile, you make the payment using information provided by the payment service provider. Depending on the bank, an OTP might be required. (To make future payments easier, the payment service provider can be added as a beneficiary to your banking profile.)

3. You are then transferred back to the merchant’s or the service provider’s website, where the payment is verified and the order can be filled immediately.

The advantage of EFT is that you do not need a credit card or cheque card to complete a transaction and the cost of the transaction is relatively low – usually under R1. There is also no need to send proof of payment to the merchant, as the funds have been transferred directly into the merchant’s account.

The merchant wins by not having to pay the credit card fee and because EFT payments cannot be charged back to him in the event of a dispute.

PayPal

PayPal is available in 190 countries and is probably the best-known international online payment service provider. One you have registered and linked a credit or debit card or your bank account, you no longer have to input your payment details for every transaction. You simply use your email address and PayPal password and the payment is carried out in seconds.

As the website explains, it’s also safer than giving your card details: “Your safety is our priority. That’s why a team of anti-fraud specialists monitors transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All sensitive information sent between your computer and our servers is automatically encrypted, so it’s not exposed to potential fraudsters. Wherever you shop with PayPal, your financial information is never shared with who you’re buying from.”

You can also hold funds in your PayPal account, receive refunds from merchants, and send funds between PayPal accounts.

When it comes to shopping, the beauty of PayPal overseas is that it is ubiquitous, so your email address and password are all you need for almost any transaction on new sites, as well as those you use regularly.

In South Africa however, the PayPal service is much more limited. It has only one local agent, First National Bank (FNB), where funds (such as refunds from online shopping sites or money transfers) can be withdrawn. Non-FNB clients can withdraw funds from PayPal, but they have to create an online FNB banking profile and provide proof of address and a copy of an ID document, in compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

PayU

Claiming to be South Africa’s leading payment gateway, Naspers-owned PayU operates similarly to PayPal in that it facilitates payments without sharing your card details with merchants. You register with PayU, free of charge, and provide your credit card details, which remain in your PayU wallet. Then, wherever PayU is offered, you select that option, enter your email address and password, and payment goes through without the merchant ever seeing your credit card details.

This is a potentially useful way of speeding up online payments, but PayU has a long way to go to match PayPal’s ubiquity. At the moment it is offered by Kalahari, DStv’s Home Box Office and Pick n Pay, and you can use it to buy airtime and electricity online. Unlike PayPal, its wallet does not (yet) accept deposits.

COD and cash deposits

To address the concerns of those who are uncomfortable about paying online, some online retailers, including Takealot and clothing company Zando, offer a cash-on-delivery service, which allows you to pay cash to the person who delivers the goods.

Most online retailers also offer customers the option of paying cash directly into the company’s bank account. The drawback in paying via direct deposit is that retailers usually wait for the payment to appear in their account, which can take a few days, before processing the order.

Loyalty programmes

Over the past few years, loyalty programmes such as Discovery Health’s Vitality and FNB’s eBucks have become a sort of alternative currency. For example, FNB recently announced that eBucks had generated R4 billion in spending since its inception in 2000.

E-commerce stores have noticed how quick consumers are to use the points derived from loyalty programmes as a means of payment and have been equally quick to embrace them, with companies such as Kalahari going so far as to price goods in Vitality and eBucks points. The advantage for consumers is that no money leaves their account, leaving them to use their cash for other purchases.

To use Discovery Miles on Kalahari, you place your order and then click on the Discovery Miles logo. You are directed to a page operated by PayU, where you log in with your Discovery username and password. You are shown the number of Discover Miles needed to pay for your order and you can pay in full or part with your miles. If necessary, you can top up the payment by using a Visa or MasterCard credit card.

eBucks work similarly: you are directed to a secure page and identify yourself using your four-digit eBucks PIN. The required number of eBucks are deducted from your eBucks account balance. Refunds are deposited back into your account in a few days.

Delivery

Fortunately for South Africans, there is a multitude of delivery options, and some of them are free. The clothing and decor retailer Spree, for example, offers free door-to-door or door-to-counter delivery, depending where you live in South Africa, and door-to-door delivery to any remote corner of the country for R200.

Online kitchenware retailer Yuppiechef has a comprehensive free delivery policy. According to the website: “Even the smallest item on Yuppiechef will be delivered to your door, for free. We normally use the courier company Aramex. When you place an order on this site you will be asked for a physical address that is normally occupied during office hours. For very remote areas not serviced by our normal courier, we will have to deliver via the Post Office, or to the nearest town to you that is accessible.” (See “SA is catching up, says chief of Yuppiechef”, below.)

Some online stores offer free delivery if you spend more than a certain amount – for example, R250 at Kalahari, Loot and Takealot. Orders worth less than that from Kalahari cost R35 to be delivered by door-to-door courier and, in more remote places, R55 delivered to the nearest Post Office Speed Services counter. Kalahari charges a minimum of R65 for items that weigh more than 10kg and Takealot charges a premium for weekend, same-day and express delivery.

Courier and Speed Services are the usual methods of delivery. Some sites, including Kalahari, Takealot and Loot, allow customers to collect goods from their warehouses in Cape Town.

All the established online retailers confirm orders and send delivery updates by email, as well as provide a tracking code so that you can track the status of your order on the site when necessary. Delivery times vary, but in ideal circumstances delivery can even take place on the same day, albeit at an extra cost.

For a snapshot of delivery options and costs, as presented by one typical online retailer, Loot, which sells electronics, books and DVDs, baby goods, stationery, food and wine and kitchenware, among other things, see “Getting your Loot” – link at the end of the article.

Returns and refunds

When you are buying goods you have not seen or touched – or tried on, in the case of clothing – nothing is more important than the returns and refunds policy of the seller. The established online retailers are very well organised in this regard, but always check the policy before you order anything. It should be laid out clearly and in detail, so that you know exactly what is involved in returning something and claiming a refund before you start.

Unlike most sites, Takealot buries its returns policy under a “Terms and Conditions” tab, so you’ll have to search for it. All the established sites do have call centres for more information, and Bid or Buy has an online chat service – although it was taking messages when we tried it, and it came back with the promise of a response in two working days. So much for the immediacy of the internet.

Returns policies differ widely, from a very open policy of accepting returns free of charge for any reason within 30 days, as long as the goods are in unused, pristine condition, to the more conservative policy adopted by Takealot, of accepting returns only if goods are damaged or defective, or are not as ordered. Like bricks and mortar stores, online stores take hygiene factors into account and do not allow returns of certain items, such as swimwear, earrings for pierced ears, underwear and cosmetics that have been opened.

Kalahari’s returns policy (see “Kalahari returns”, below) refers to a “cool-off period” , which could be confusing, given that the CPA provides for a five-day “cooling-off period” for consumers who enter into an agreement as a result of direct marketing. Online retailers are not direct marketers and no such mandatory cooling-off period applies. However, the CPA does establish the consumer’s right to return unused goods for a full refund “if the consumer did not have an opportunity to examine the goods before delivery and … is not satisfied that the goods are of a type and quality that were agreed on”. The CPA also provides for the return of goods that turn out not to be suitable for the purpose intended by the consumer.

Sites should guide you through the returns procedure, which usually goes something like this:

* You log your return on the website within a certain period – at Zando, the period is 14 days;

* You repackage the goods in the original packaging with all labels attached (so hold on to all the packaging until you are sure you are going to keep the items);

* You receive an email confirming that the courier company will contact you to arrange collection;

* The retailer arranges collection by the courier within a specified number of days – usually two to four days;

* The retailer examines the goods at the warehouse; and, if they’re in good order; and

* Refunds you within a few days.

Some stores charge for returns and others don’t. The giant Kalahari charges R55 per collection, while relatively small Yuppiechef accepts returns at no charge, unless there are complications. Its policy is a good example of the way the most accommodating websites operate: “If on receiving your order you are not delighted with your purchase, let our customer service team know within 14 days and we will gladly collect it at our expense and provide you with a refund, provided the item is in its original condition and original packaging. If you have used a product and found it to be damaged or faulty, we will collect the product at our expense and either replace, refund or repair the item, depending on the circumstance. Although seldom charged, we reserve the right to charge a 10-percent administration fee for returned orders should the returns process incur significant administration expenses.

“We’ve made the returns and exchange process even easier by creating a little self-help online system for you. Simply fill out the form and hit submit. A customer service agent will then get hold of you shortly.”

The auction site Bid or Buy and Kalahari’s so-called “marketplace sellers” operate differently, since the contract in both cases is between the buyer and the seller directly, not the website, which only receives a fee from sellers to carry the items. Nevertheless, Kalahari allows cancellations with full refunds for up to seven days after purchase and facilitates returns and refunds (full or partial) where marketplace sellers are concerned.

Bid or Buy’s user agreement states that it “will not be liable to you or any other person for any loss, damage, expense, or other amounts incurred, savings foregone, or hardship suffered, by any person however arising”.

Despite this disclaimer, the need to protect customers has persuaded the site to introduce the “Buyer Protection Programme”, which is free and provides for various levels of compensation to buyers to a maximum of R7 500, provided the sellers are “verified users”. Buyers are subject to a five-percent excess, which is deducted from the refund.

The important thing with all these sites is to examine them closely, read up about the relevant procedures, and give them a trial run by starting with a small order. You might be pleasantly surprised by the ease and efficiency with which you get the goods you want. You might even conclude that online retailers have to work harder at communication and competitiveness than traditional stores.

Just don’t get hooked!

LENDING TO SHOP

The payment systems offered by South African online retailers include two that involve arranging a personal loan to pay for the goods you want to buy. CreditCart, which is available to shoppers on Takealot, and PayLater, which is exclusive to the auction website Bid or Buy, are partnerships with credit providers. You are redirected from the website to an application form and can have a loan approved in minutes, so that you can complete the transaction or continue shopping.

It’s innovative, certainly, but shoppers should not be tempted by the promise of “an easy, quick and safe way to finance online shopping”. This statement on the CreditCart website (with the slogan “Get stuff now”) neglects to mention that it is a very expensive way of shopping, with interest rates way in excess of the norm.

CreditCart

This offering is a division of Direct Axis, a registered credit provider that specialises in loans and insurance. It offers you the option of paying for goods online using an instant personal loan of anything between R500 and R15 000. As the website puts it: “A short online application form needs to be completed, after which you will be given a decision. Once approved, a final security check is conducted. The retailer is paid on your behalf and your order ships. Simple as that.”

To use the CreditCart service, you must be a South African citizen, be older than 18, earn more than R3 000 a month and have a bank account from which repayments can be debited.

A sample calculation for a personal loan on the Direct Axis website uses an interest rate of 26 percent to work out what a consumer would pay for a loan of R4 000 repaid over 24 months. The result is a monthly repayment of R316, or R7 584 over the whole period. This includes an initiation fee of R1 140, a monthly service fee of R57 and a monthly premium of R3.95 for the Personal Protection Plan, which ensures that the company gets its money if you cannot pay.

What all this means is that goods to the value of R4 000 paid for by this method could cost you 89.6 percent more over two years.

PayLater

This is the same concept as CreditCart, but is a partnership between Bid or Buy and the registered credit provider GoLoans. If you choose the PayLater option on the Bid or Buy website, you are presented with an application form to fill in and may be granted a loan to the value of an item you have already put in your virtual shopping cart, or an amount you want available to you when you start shopping.

The maximum amount of one or more loans from PayLater is R8 000 and the interest rate is set at 19 percent a year. Repayment of the loan is via a debit order on your bank account and the period is usually three or six months.

On the full amount available, this adds up to an extra cost of R755 over six months, excluding initiation costs, monthly service fees and credit insurance. You may be eligible for a loan if you are a registered Bid or Buy user, are over 18 years of age, have a South African bank account and live in South Africa.

SA IS CATCHING UP, SAYS CHIEF OF YUPPIECHEF

Andrew Smith is the managing director and co-founder of Yuppiechef, an online store that specialises in premium kitchenware. Founded in 2006, it has become one of South Africa’s leading e-commerce stores.

Smith gives his views on what is driving the growth in e-commerce and what needs to be done to make it more mainstream.

Personal Finance: What was behind the rapid growth of e-commerce over the past few years? Was it one particular factor or was it a combination?

AS: South Africa has finally started catching up with the rest of the world in terms of e-commerce adoption, mainly because there are now decent online stores to shop at. The traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are starting to invest in their online stores, and there are strong specialised online stores solving the difficult problems of logistics and providing great service.

How big do you think the e-commerce market is now – excluding air travel – and at what rate is it growing?

The South African e-commerce market is in the low billions a year, and makes up around one percent of all retail. This is compared with seven percent to 15 percent of retail in developed markets such as the United Kingdom and United States, so we know that growth is inevitable. Local e-commerce is probably experiencing around 30-percent annual growth, although some of the most successful online stores are growing at over 60 percent a year.

What do you see as the biggest hurdles in making e-commerce more mainstream?

E-commerce works. You can buy almost anything online in South Africa for a competitive price and have it delivered within a day or two. The consistency of the experience will continue to improve and customer confidence will grow, so the only real obstacle is in getting the word out, which is taking time. It would be great if the banks helped promote online shopping, as they are the institutions that customers really trust to protect them.

What kinds of products are gaining popularity with consumers?

In the early days of e-commerce, customers shopped online for hard-to-find brands and products, but these days customers shop online for superior convenience, service and price. Therefore anything you can get from a traditional retailer that can fit in a box is now selling online.

Compared with traditional retailers, what advantages do you have?

We can serve the whole country – and even go beyond our borders – from a single location, which means that we can stock a bigger and better range, and hire and train the best customer service staff. Not having to pay retail rentals means we can put that saving back into providing free delivery on all orders. Customers can shop from their phones or computers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year from wherever they are, and we can build a community around inspiring articles, recipes and other online engagements.

Transacting online gives e-retailers the ability to track the behaviour of their clients. Do you have guidelines in place that preserve the privacy of your customers while still profiling them?

I think consumers would be surprised at how they are being profiled in traditional retail stores via loyalty and store cards. Yuppiechef requires the minimum amount of information needed to get an order to a customer – we don’t force customers to register, and we don’t ask for unnecessary details such as ID numbers.

Do you see the means of paying – primarily EFT and card payments – as a limiting factor?

There is still a need for payment solutions that can reach the mass market in an affordable way. Cellphone billing is a great new solution, whereby purchases are charged to your cellphone bill, but the service providers can take up to 50 percent in charges. For stores such as Yuppiechef, payment technology is not a hindrance once customers trust the safety of the process.

KALAHARI RETURNS

Website retailer kalahari has the following returns policy, quoted verbatim from the website:

Save for certain exceptions (as listed below), you are entitled, after your receipt of a product purchased by you, to cancel that purchase within the relevant cool-off period specified below, and to obtain a full purchase price refund, subject to being charged by the seller thereof for the return of the product.

Cool-off period:

* Products purchased from Kalahari: 30 days

* Products purchased from a Marketplace Seller: seven days

Exceptions:

The aforesaid ability to cancel purchases of non-defective products will not apply in respect of the following types

of products:

* Books, magazines, newspapers and periodicals;

* Audio or video recordings (ie CDs or DVDs) or computer software (ie computer games) which have been opened or are unsealed;

* Foodstuffs, beverages or other goods intended for everyday consumption;

* Flowers and other products that are likely to deteriorate or expire rapidly; and

* Products that by reason of their nature cannot be returned (which include eBooks, electronic vouchers, and for hygiene reasons, iPods, underwear, swimwear, and earrings for pierced ears).