Keep These Factors In Mind
- Coupon and Promotion Codes. Search for coupon and promotion codes to be sure you get all discounts the e-tailer currently offers. To find current codes, perform a search for the e-tailer’s name along with the words ‘promotion code’ or ‘coupon’. After applying the coupon code double check your total price to ensure the discount was applied properly. Also check "Deal of the Day" websites, where retailers offer deep discounts on merchandise and services.
- Payment Methods. The way you pay matters! You get the most protection with a credit card; debit cards are more risky. Virtual wallets such as PayPal are convenient but have disadvantages, too. Single use credit card numbers are another option – ask your credit card provider if they offer this feature.
- Shipping and Handling. Shipping and handling can put a big dent in a shopping budget. Look for sites that offer free or discounted shipping rates. Make sure you understand all conditions placed on free shipping offers and that you’ll get your merchandise in time if you choose that option. The law affords you rights surrounding time-frames for shipping your purchase.
- Return Policies. Understand the e-tailer’s return policy. Do they offer a special, extended return policy for the holiday season? What documentation needs to accompany a return? If you purchase online, and the e-tailer also has a brick and mortar site can you return to the store? Do you need a return authorization number or an “RA” to return an item? Will the e-tailer pay for return shipping of the item or do you have to cover that cost? Will you have to pay a re-stocking fee?
- Problems with the purchase. One of the most common online purchasing problems is products that don't arrive in time. Even if the company is unable to ship as promised, it must provide you adequate notice promptly and give you a revised delivery date. You must be allowed to agree to the delay or cancel the order and get a refund. If you're not happy about a transaction, you should complain to the retailer using the address or phone number you kept from your transaction receipts. If you don’t receive the merchandise you ordered file a dispute with your credit card company.