If you buy software on the internet and your browser or PC crashes during the transaction, don't panic. Losing the downloaded file or licence key, even months after buying the product when you come to reinstall it, is a common occurrence. Every online vendor should have procedures for dealing with this.

This article appears in the January 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.

Go to the website and look for the Contact us link. Find out how to contact the sales department: it may be an email address or a web form. The mistake most people make is to try to use the telephone: most online businesses are not set up to deal with issues such as this over the phone.

When sending your request, provide as much detail as you can about your order – specifically the date, your name, the email address you used – and you should be advised of your licence key, or sent a download link.

In the unlikely event that you don't get a response and are unable to obtain the product you paid for, turn to your credit card company for help. Tell them the item was an online purchase, the product was not received and your attempts to contact the company have failed. Ask if they can initiate a chargeback.