Mac Fallout Shelter

Tips for Shopping Online and Avoiding Problems

- 2006.02.07 - Tip Jar

Like many people today, I do most of my shopping online. In this article I'm going to share my firsthand account of different ways to shop online - what to be careful with and what to look for when shopping.

I must note I am not biased to any online store or site; I am just a shopper and user like any of you.

Auction

There are a few auctions sites still up like Yahoo! Auctions and uBid, but the big, respected player here is eBay. They make millions and have spent millions to keeping you safe. They use a feedback system, good authentication, and have their very own payment system, PayPal, in which they will guarantee your money back if something goes wrong in certain situations.

I high recommend you stick to PayPal and not give out your personal or credit information to strangers.

The things to look for when buying on eBay:

  • Verify the seller's feedback
  • Read everything in the auction
  • Ask questions before bidding
  • Use PayPal and only PayPal
  • Check if PayPal's buyer protection is included (it's only give to respectable sellers)
  • Check to see exactly the condition and items included in the auction
  • Don't overpay for shipping
  • If it's too good to be true, it's not real

Classifieds

Yes, we're including your local paper and online classifieds like Craigslist in this article. You must be careful and ask a lot of question before going to see the item. Test the item and make sure everything works before you buy it. Make sure you have cash on hand, and always try to bargain the seller to lowering his price.

Name Brand Stores

The big names list includes Amazon.com, Walmart, Best Buy, Buy.com, CDW, Apple, MacMall, and others. They are really good at keeping a nice site. They will tell you if they have the item in stock or not. They have good return policies and pretty good customer service if you encounter problems.

Some offer in-store pickup after you purchase it online, and some have free shipping. I recommend spending a few bucks more and sticking to a big brand seller for peace of mind.

No Name Brands

There are hundreds of thousands of stores on the Internet. Make sure you check out BizRate or similar sites that have customer reviews of online stores.

Be careful, because many sites will call you and try to sell you more stuff to add to your order and take a long time to ship your item.

Also see how their customer service department is, and make sure they have what you want in stock.

One thing to look for is make sure you read or ask to see what is included with your purchase and if it has a manufacturer's warranty. Many item sold online are overseas versions of the product and do not include a US warranty.

Like I said before, if it looks too good to be true, it might be. LEM

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