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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Before You Order Online....Flush it Out!

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Before You Order Online....Flush it Out!

I almost did it. I almost let my "I wannnaaaa" get control of me and order from some website I had never heard of. Yes, the price looked exceedingly good, which should've been my first clue. I frequently like to look for bargains all over the internet...and I mean all over. You can see some of the methods I like to use below.

But before buying from a new company, follow these tips:

  • Just google the name. You may get what you need to know right off the top.
  • Check the site complaints.com. Everyday consumers with everyday complaints.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau. You just may see something that would make you think twice about ordering.
  • See if they have some kind of Seal of Approval on their website. And then check what that seal means. Hopefully, it's not something they pay for, but something that they are given for their top customer service, secure payment methods and that kind of thing.
  • Check bizrate.com. Here you'll find consumer feedback reviews of the different online stores, along with shopping comparison help.
  • Check epubliceye.com. Another consumer shopping rating site worth visiting.
  • Does the site have securing ordering? If the web address starts in https, then it is a secure site, or check the lower right hand corner of your browser and look for the locked symbol or whatever method your browser uses to show you are on a secure ordering site.
  • Look through the site and find a real street address and phone number for customer service. If you can't find that, then there is no shame in being leery.
  • Go to archives.org and see how often the site is updated. If not too often, I would hesitate to order from them. You can also see how long they've had their website. If they say they've been in business for umpteen years, but their website is almost brand new, I would just do some more investigating to make sure they really have been around...either at another web address or physical address.
  • What is their return policy? I would just never order from any kind of company that didn't have some kind of return policy. No returns = customer no service = SOL if something goes wrong.
  • Are they giving a warranty? Especially with electronic products. I'm not saying for you to buy the extended warranty. It doesn't pay off in the long run for you...just for them. I typically don't even look at an extended warranty for anything that is priced under $500. Statistics show you will mostly lose on that bet and pay something for nothing.
  • Read their privacy policy. I once ordered from a site....with a brand new email...and darned if I didn't get signed up for at least a dozen different newsletters I didn't want or request. I could only trace it back to this order. Know what you're being signed up for as you go through the purchasing screens.
  • Don't give out your social security number. This should be a given. Unless you are opening an account at a bank or getting your credit report from one of the reporting agencies...don't do it. They don't need it, and you shouldn't be taking the risk. Do your business elsewhere.
  • Pay by credit card, which will give you more rights as a consumer than if you paid any other way. I know a lot of businesses also send you a confirmation email. Just to be safe, I save a copy of the webpage and put it in a receipts folder, with company name and date, so I can always have proof later. I save it as a jpg like with Screen Grab...no more gobbledee gook html pages and folders of all the graphics...it's unnecessary. Just one thing to save please.
  • As much as I like to do this on my favorite sites, try not to save your password or credit card information. It's just less to get hacked into and taken.
  • Don't ever order anything from a pop up ad. Nuff said there.
  • Before you get to that final screen, check your total price with shipping. Sometimes they like to throw in that outrageous shipping charge right on the last screen, after you put in all your information.
  • Don't get upsold on accessories. That's where many retailers make the bulk of their money. If you are getting a great deal on an iPod for example, don't get suckered into buying overpriced accessories from their store...shop around and be patient.
  • When your item arrives, check it over thoroughly. Don't let it sit in the box or wherever and then decide to get it out and try it when you get a chance. Time will get away from you then, and it'll be too late to return it at a later date.
Many of these tips, I just developed on my own. I did get some from the Bargain Hunters Secrets to Online Shopping by Michael Miller...a library book I dusted off recently. It was a helpful book, especially if shopping online is unfamiliar territory. It's a bit on the dry technical side, but I bet you, he'll save you at least a little money if you go take a look.

What else can you add about shopping online?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Linda said...

This is FANTASTIC information! Thanks for sharing!

October 30, 2008 at 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is very helpful and timely since the holidays are coming. I admit to only ordering from a few tried and true companies. This will help.

MLS

October 30, 2008 at 5:49 PM  

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