well, i’d consider myself a veteran if not expert on buying products online. i joined ebay about 8 years ago and prior to ebay had used Amazon.com and Newegg.com since their inception. however, after speaking with co-workers and friends throughout the year; i realized that there are still a lot of newbs or first timers out there when it comes to online purchasing.
so this blog is a very quick overview on things to watch out for if you are a newbie.
- Research, research, research! You have the power of the web at your hands and you might as well use it to your advantage. Many people are kind enough to give good (usually) feedback about both an item and vendor. Newegg.com is a great place to check reviews and epinions.com also is good one. Doing a google search for your product and a review always works too.
- Let’s say you find the product you want but the price is almost too good to believe. Chances are that it is too good to believe and probably (occasionally you can find those killer deals) has a catch or may not be for the exact product.
- If your using eBay.com to find your item (be it used or new), READ THE WHOLE AUCTION DETAILS! eBay used to be a great place for getting deals on items but more often than none the shipping costs can negate most deals on the price.
Also, be sure that what your getting is the actual product and not a ‘chinese-knock off’. From my experience, knock-offs of popular items are becoming more prevalent on ebay. Also, if the item is used; i’d check to make sure that it is guaranteed to be NON-DOA (doa = dead on arrival); if they do not guarantee this, the item most likely doesn’t work.
- If your paying via credit card, see if your card company offers any services to allow for ‘virtual’ card numbers for purchases. these virtual card numbers are only good for that one purchase and can help reduce unauthorized use of your credit card number.
- If your using eBay.com and its a bidding auction; remember not to get caught up in the bidding. i’ve seen many auctions online that end up with a higher price than if you were to buy the item new in store or online.
- Always be sure the site you are purchasing from uses SSL security for their checkout page. This can help reduce the possibility of a spoofed site and will encrypt the information sent through the web form to the retailer. You can check this by looking at the URL address of the checkout page, it will start with “https://”
- Use deal sites and if you use an RSS reader, add their feeds to your reader. Here are two of my fave deal sites i subscribe to:
- If a store offers in-store pickup and you don’t mind stopping by the store or if the vendor has a store near you go that route to save on shipping. Most times you can get the online price and avoid the shipping costs by doing this. I’ve used this a few times for Circuit City and Best Buy.
- If your not sure on the vendor or retailer’s creds; again do a google for the store or vendor. I know i almost bought my Sony Cybershot DSC-T9 from a store that i thought i could get a great deal on ($100 less than most other stores) but after researching the store found out that it got terrible reviews and most of the time never shipped items out or if they did it took a month or two to receive the items.
- Finally, hit up forum boards to help with your research. people that have had bad experiences with products or stores like to voice their opinions.
Well, i think for now that is a good start for you newbies out there. Enjoy and be safe when getting your geek on.