Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Top Ten Online Shopping Mistakes

We’re approaching the time for holiday shopping and for me there’s no better place to shop then from the comfort of your own home. I’ve seen many articles that provide tips for online holiday shopping but I always like to look at things a little differently.  So here are the top ten mistakes that people are likely to make while shopping online. And yes, I know many of them from experience.

High Shipping Costs
It’s really easy to find things online which are cheaper but sometimes you’ll pay the difference in inflated shipping and handling fees.  This is especially true when making a purchase from a small retailer or via an online auction sites.

Late Delivery
If you’re buying a present for someone, you’ll want to be sure that your item is available and will be delivered before date you need it.  Always leave yourself some time for unexpected delays.

Wrong Shipping Destination
Many sites will remember previous locations where you had items shipped. Usually, they’ll remember the last location used so don’t be tempted by One-Click purchases.  Your item will be shipped to the last person who received a present from you.

Buying by Email Marketing
Don’t be tempted by Email specials unless you specifically requested information from a company. Don’t respond to any spam promotions.  Just because it’s a well known product, it doesn’t mean the Email came from the real company.  Anytime you respond to spam, you just encourage more.

Generating More Spam
When purchasing items online don’t use the Email address which is personal or important to you.  There are a number of free Email services where you can create a throw away Email account just for shopping. Create something like or a similar account.

Losing Track of your Purchases
I have one credit card which I use for online purchases. When the bill comes in I make sure to compare it with online purchases. Frequently, the company name on the bill won’t be obvious to the purchased item. I do this more for tracking then for security. Using a credit card online is usually safer than giving it to a waiter or store clerk. Always print out any orders you make online and keep them in a special pile.

Wrong Product or Model
Sometimes the image shown isn’t identical to the product model you’re ordering. Read the full description of what you’re ordering. The title may say “Beatles Greatest Hits”  but it doesn’t mean the songs are actually performed by the fab four.

False Credentials
Just because a vendor displays images from the Better Business Bureau or eTrust doesn’t mean they really have been approved.  If buying from an unfamiliar store verify they really do have the credentials they claim.

Costly Return Policies
Brick and mortar stores aren’t the only ones with so called “Re-stocking Fees”. Check the return policy of any store your order from. If you receive a defective product will the store pay the shipping to return your item?

Rushed Purchases
This really summarizes all the previous mistakes. I don’t recommend using a 1-Click® purchase process like Amazon will set up for you. Usually the system will remember your important information but seriously, how difficult is it to type in your name and address or credit card. Re-entering your credit card is a good idea because you may notice the expiration date has passed.  This may not be picked up on a 1-Click purchase and will delay your delivery.

Feel free to click on the comments link and tell us what mistakes you or others have made.


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Blogger Big Geek Daddy said...

Some sites ( are very good at advertising Free Shipping but when you go to check out the default option is Paid Shipping. You then have to choose the Free Shipping button to get this changed. If you're in a hurry it's very easy to miss. I've never missed it but a friend has and after numerous emails they still wouldn't give him a credit.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very wary of buying software downloads from Ebay. Both Ebay & Paypal do not provide buyer protection for such purchases as they are not "tangible" goods. I recently found this out the hard way!!!I can only give the seller a negative rating........BUT...then I can get a revengeful one back from him!!!

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also regardimg Found later regarding return policy that their short time allowed was from your order date, not receiving date. Got defective product, refused return because of this. Will never buy from them again. Cost nearly $100.00 to learn this lesson

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always check right down the very bottom of the page for boxes already checked for you to receive emails from the site.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very aware of online auctions that carry the description clause,
"sold as is", or 'have no way of testing', or 'sold at buyers risk. Usually on electrical items, even toys, such as model trains.
'No refunds on this item', means that the item is worn out or known to be faulty, irepairable, or very expensive to have repaired.
This usualy means that the seller has found some items whilst cleaning out his shed or basement,
found some junk or non-working items and decided to list them on Ebay or similar web sites.
Not only are you buying someone's junk, but paying to have it mailed,
or delivered to you.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was less than pleased to purchase replacement bulk dry ink toner that was sold by gross weight (including packing bottle)rather than net weight. Worse than not reading the fine print is when there is no fine print. He was a thief. I wrote & phone called to no avail. Lessons learned: 1). I don't buy from the little guys unless other research on the internet determines them to be reputable. 2). A simple google search for complaints against the company can be very informative! This saved me from a major scam through a vendor over an SLR camera.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but how likely is it for your credit card information to be stolen or somehow intercepted and your identy getting stolen???

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One lesson that I learned the hard way is NEVER at ANY time believe the "customer comments" that are on the home page of the company website. If you want a great example go to "" (but dont be duped into buying anything like I did)...after visiting their site do a search on "Customer review" and you will see that they are a bunch of rip offs! Always do a seperate search on the internet using the company name and customer will learn a lot without spending a lot. My lesson only cost me $200! Camera I bought was supose to be $400 got charged $600!

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased a big ticket item (over$500) on Amazon. Two rebates influenced my choice. One was from Amazon. I sent what I thought to be the invoice to them with the rebate request and they returned it saying I have to send an orginal invoice..well guess what...I never received one they would classify as orginal. I had three, verification email and packaging invoice that had no pricing on it. What a scam.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can't say it has cost me much except in terms of time and worry, but not all sites send a clear invoice and you end up with a strange page of order numbers and not much else. The only way I get a clear picture of what I am paying it at the pre point of purchase at the so called check out. If I don't do it then I may end up with crap information.

12:35 PM  
Blogger jan said...

I purchased 3 pairs of shoes from (a branch of amazon). I returned two pairs but was only credited for the return of one. When I emailed challenging the return, I received an "oops! sorry" and received the full return. I've since reviewed all returns even more carefully!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I placed an order on google chrome which had remembered the address from my last purchase. Not taking to fact the first attempt contained a typo brought up a question no one has answered. If (street name) (PLACE) was used instead of (street name) (ROAD) will they somehow realize the error and return it to my address? Someone with prior experience on this matter respond please.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous courses drive said...

Shopping online is become popular through the years, since website become more secure and shopping experience become more easier than ever. But also people should be careful and avoid common mistakes of online shopping that you have share over here. Check your shopping cart carefully before placing order.

7:02 AM  

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