Online Shopping Fees

Online shopping continues to grow at a torid rate with more sellers trying to meet the demand. Marketplaces from Amazon to the individual making products in their garage. This leads to more options for consumers and theoretically lower costs, better quality, quicker delivery, and overall better value.

As with many new conveniences, this comes with new risks. You may be comfortable with returning items and speaking to employees in a brick and mortar store. Obviously, that often isn’t possible withe online shopping. You may have to dig around the sellers website to find their refund and/or return policy. Some forms of compensation may be complete refund, replacement, credit or markdown toward a future purchase.

Online shopping also reduces your ability to negotiate. This may not matter as much if buying staple items. However, if you’re purchasing a more expensive item the ability to negotiate can make a big difference in your costs. As much as an item may seem non-negotiable, it doesn’t hurt to try. You may need to contact someone in a chat room, or better yet by phone.  

Combine Shipping

Some sellers will offer combined shipping which means you can buy multiple items to ship at once. Obviously, the intent is to reduce the overall shippping costs for the seller which is passed on to the buyer. This is usually bound with terms that depend on the number of items, size of items, and within a specified duration of time. (i.e. combine shipping on like items up to three within the same day). This helps spread out this fixed costs over all the items purchased thus reducing the total costs among all items. However if you need one of the items quicker than the others, this may not be a risk you can take. 

Late Delivery

If you paid for a freight option such as “Express in 1-2 days” and your item doesn’t show up then you should complain for money back. Even if you didn’t pay extra yet the company provided an estimated arrival date and it missed you may also have a valid complaint. 

The seller may try to use the excuse of weather or other events “out of their control” so be prepared to respond.

To reduce the risk of not getting your item(s) at all, buy from a marketplace seller that uses tracking identification to help determine status of package after it leaves the seller

Coupon Code

Coupon Codes, Discount Codes, Promo Codes…whatever name you prefer, these are everywhere and just about expected to exist if you’re a consumer. If you’re checking out from a website and notice an option to enter a code for a discount and you don’t have one, that just leaves a bad taste. With a little effort and a few simple steps and you can track one down and save a few dollars. 

Are you a Seller on Ebay?

A small change in selling strategies can make a sizable difference in income…both good and bad.

Damaged/Missing Parts

This is rather obvious but often there is a time limit of which the company may try to impose. Therefore if you wait too long to report damage or missing parts they may try to use this reason to reject your claim. Look over your item carefully as small problems can eventually grow into major problems when its too late for a claim. 

Lower Item Cost = Lower Taxes

Keep in mind that buyers typically have to pay sales taxes on items. Obviously this is a percentage of the sale so it can be a meaningful amount if purchasing an expensive item. There is no way to avoid this unless possibly buying the item at flea market, garage sale, or some on-line marketplaces. 

Amazon Business

Amazon Business is a growing marketplace designed for B2B purchases. The fee to enroll includes a certain amount of access accounts. This marketplace is unique in that it offers the buyer the ability to request quantity discounts (if it applies for that item). A response is usually provided with a few hours. 

There may be a refurbished option available too. Instead of paying the premium amount for a new item, the marketplace will show you if a used or refurbished item is available and usually at a fraction of the new item cost. Amazon also tracks your business spend with minority-certified suppliers. 

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