General: John’s Online Shopping Hints for Family and Friends

December 3, 2004 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

I just asked my Mom if was willing to shop online, and realized that maybe what some folks might appreciate would be a bit of a guide for online shopping. So. Here are my recommendations. Some might disagree, but this is what works for Margaret and I:

  • Use an online shopping comparison site to compare prices and like items. I use froogle.google.com
  • If you find an item you want on froogle, or a site like it, opt for a store that you’ve heard of over one you haven’t…even if you have to pay a few dollars more. There probably is a site that ranks online stores, but I don’t know of one. You can also go visit the site. If you are comfortable with how the site looks, you can try it. I have ordered things from sites because I was comfortable with what I saw on their website. I’ve never been burnt by it. But generally, I’ll opt for someplace I’ve heard of.
  • When you order an item (say, CDs or Books) you might try to batch your purchases. Many times, you won’t have to pay tax, but often you’ll have to pay shipping. Might as well have them ship you as much stuff as possible. It’s cheaper that way – rather than ordering single items from several different stores.
  • Speaking of shipping…check the shipping costs. Shipping can vary from store to store, and sometimes it’s just outrageous. If I can’t easily figure out the shipping cost, I’ll go shop somewhere else. I don’t have time to try to figure out their stupid website.
  • We usually pick the cheapest shipping. Just shop early enough that you can afford to get your stuff in a week or so.
  • Ebay is a good place to shop. But…check the rating of the seller. If they are a new seller, they might not have a very good rating yet. It will take some time to learn the ropes, but you can find some nice stuff on Ebay.
  • A word of caution – I bought my first Mac laptop from a fellow on Ebay. He had a good rating, and was friendly to deal with, and was accomodating when the laptop didn’t ship when it was supposed to. Several months later, I saw that a number of people had problems with the seller, and Ebay had suspended his account. I think this is rare among sellers with high volume and good ratings. With this seller, he was selling items he didn’t actually have in stock.
  • And, most importantly – don’t use a check card to make your purchases. Use a credit card. Generally, your bank won’t do anything for you if you run into problems having used your check card, but a credit card company will work with you.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. Anything you think should be added? Create an account, log in, and leave some comments!

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