Before you buy digital products
Some digital products are free, eg smartphone apps. Others you pay a subscription or one-off fee, eg streaming a new-release movie.
Some come with restrictions, eg:
- licensed, eg software for use by one named person or on a limited number of devices
- digital rights management, meaning there are limits on copying and sharing, eg music files.
Almost all digital products involve sharing your personal information with the business supplying the digital files. Even for free products, you generally must have an account with information about your name, email and payment details.
Before you buy, download or stream, check:
- how much personal information you are expected to share — and how the business will keep it safe
- if it's a genuine product — watch out for scams and illegal copies.
Businesses, websites and apps should tell you what personal information they collect and how it will be used.
Data and privacy
Before you buy smart products
Smart products connect to the internet, sometimes called the Internet of Things (IoT). Examples include fitness monitors, lights that switch on and off via your smartphone, or fridges that send alerts if you run low on milk.
Your consumer rights are the same as for any faulty product — a refund, repair or replacement. Contact the retailer. It’s their responsibility to solve any issues with the manufacturer or software company.
But you also need to think about privacy and online security breaches.
Smart products collect a certain amount of data during set-up and use. Check the terms and conditions. Make sure you know what information will be collected, and how the company will use and store it. If you are not happy with how your information will be collected or stored, it’s best not to buy the smart product.
Before you buy