When to shop online

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by Cara Garretson - Attention cyber-shoppers! You may want to consider doing your online shopping during business hours -- and not just because it's more fun than working.

As it turns out, the best time to shop online is during normal business hours as posted by the site so in case you run into trouble with your order or you're not sure the business is a reputable one, you can call and find out. "Reliable companies should advertise their physical business address and at least one phone number, either customer service or an order line," says the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC). "Call the phone number and ask questions to determine if the business is legitimate."

It's likely to be much harder to get someone on the phone at midnight; however PRC adds that some companies have a live answering service after hours. Just in case, if you're shopping at a site you haven't used before, it's best to do so during normal business hours so that you can get someone on the phone if the need arises.

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