Australians are warned to do their online shopping before 15 December if they want the gifts to arrive in time for Xmas.

The warning comes as millions of Australians turn to cyber malls to purchase cut-price Christmas gifts as household budgets tighten, according to one of Australia’s leading online e-tailers. managing director, Peter Xie, said massive freight demand in the lead up to Christmas meant gifts could not be guaranteed if orders were not made by 15 December.

“Last minute shopping does not apply to the online retail space,” said Xie.

“Wherever you buy online, gifts purchased after 15 December could result in disappointed children or embarrassment with friends and family.” also warned consumers to only purchase goods from sites with stringent credit card protection; legitimate refund policies; reasonable freight arrangements and costs; guaranteed warranties, and privacy protection.

“There are undoubtedly bargains and discount offers available, but shoppers could be in for massive disappointments and frustrations,” he said.

“In the rush to get good deals you should read the website carefully. Check it is secure, that it offer warranties and good refund policies, and that you understand the policies.”