There's a multitude of reasons to shop online. It's hard to beat in terms of sheer convenience, and you can find unique items from around the world that go far beyond what you'd see in your local mall. Many online shoppers also are hooked on the great deals, with major retailers offering discount codes and loyalty programs for their virtual clients. However, sometimes what appears at first glance to be a deep discount could actually be a trap. The following are a few common mistakes that online shoppers make. By learning to recognize them, you can avoid them and save more money.
Responding to Email Marketing
If you've signed up for your favourite brand's mailing list, you may be rewarded with online coupon codes sent to your inbox. This is a good way to save money online. However, if you receive unsolicited offers it's probably better to hit delete. Spam promotions are unfortunately common, particularly if you've made online purchases in the past. These may look like they come from legitimate companies, but you have no real way of knowing until it's too late. Remember that it's easier to sell counterfeit items online. If unbelievable bargains come streaming into your inbox, chances are that they're too good to be true.
Not Checking the Return Policy
Most brick and mortar stores have open return policies, but this can be trickier with online retailers. Some may accept returns but expect you to pay the shipping, while others will only allow exchanges. Be sure to read the return policy closely before completing your purchase.
Not Comparing Shipping Costs
You can buy the same item from two different sellers in the same location, and receive two entirely different shipping quotes. This is particularly true if you buy from individual sellers at heavily advertised online marketplaces like Quicksales or eBay. Although most are scrupulous, some sellers, perhaps lured by the promises of easy cash from the ad campaign for Quicksales.com.au, may hope to make a bit more profit with inflated handling fees. Some may also charge a flat shipping rate no matter where in the country you're located. It's best to shop around to find reasonable shipping.
Signing Up for Offers through Pop-Up Ads
You've probably seen ads that appear at the end of the checkout process offering you free gifts or special offers. Although they may follow through on these promises, these ads usually require you to register your personal information, and may even ask you to subscribe to services in order to get your gift. It can be difficult to get out of these contracts down the road, and you may lose money in the form of cancellation fees or other hidden expenses. Stay far away.
Wiring Money to Sellers
If a seller asks you to wire money to a bank account, this should set off alarm bells. Legitimate sellers, whether they are selling through online marketplaces or an e-commerce storefront, will be able to accept credit cards or PayPal. Some may ask for cheques or money orders, which are inconvenient but not necessarily fraudulent. However, wiring money is risky because it cannot be tracked or reversed and often incurs extra fees. This payment won't be protected like a credit card payment will.
With a bit of caution and common sense, you can avoid these common pitfalls and protect yourself from extra fees or identity theft. This allows you to take advantage of all the savings online shopping has to offer.