Online shopping is very convenient, but it can also leave you broke until your next paycheck. It can also cause significant buyer remorse. The world of online shopping is full of counterfeit products, bait-and-switch tactics, and security threats. It’s unlikely that this multi-billion dollar industry will disappear, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your purchases.
Buying online from a trusted source can make your life easier. After all, who has time to visit a brick-and-mortar store these days? But running your errands the old-fashioned way could save you some major headaches down the line. Here are seven common online purchases you should avoid and why.
You may like the idea of being able to try on clothes from the comfort of your home, but that convenience can come at a cost. According to Statista, clothing is the most common item purchased online. 44% of those surveyed said they purchased apparel online. While it may be tempting to easily add cute clothes to your wardrobe, it can also be frustrating and expensive.
If the product does not fit, you will need to return it. Many retailers offer free returns, but some retailers do not offer free returns. This means you may have to pay to have the item returned to you. Furthermore, what you see is not always what you get. Amazon reviews are full of disgusting stories of “what I thought I would get vs. what I got” and “expectations vs. reality.” From items that are different in quality and color from the photos to fake items.
Another item that is becoming more common to purchase online, but may be best purchased in person, is a vehicle. Firstly, cars are very expensive. These are usually one of the biggest purchases a person makes outside the home. Second, whether new or used, a car can look very different from when you see it in photos than when you’re behind the wheel.
Since you’ll be driving it for years to come, it’s a good idea to take it for a few rides around your neighborhood so you don’t regret your purchase once you get the keys.
A common problem with online shopping is that there isn’t much regulation. Online retailers often don’t receive the same scrutiny as brick-and-mortar stores. The online retailer you buy from may be located overseas, or they may just be selling products out of their garage. This results in many fake and imitation products being sold as genuine. People who buy cosmetics online often fall victim to this type of scam.
Just like cosmetics, you’ll probably need to buy branded products directly. You won’t know if it’s a fake until you actually see the product. As reported by the Guardian, “as much as 10% of all branded goods on sale could be fake.”
During the pandemic, online grocery shopping has become second nature. For some of us, having our groceries delivered to our cars is worth a few extra dollars. Unfortunately, it may cost more than you think. Many grocery stores offer free pickup, but you may be filling your cart with things you don’t need. Compare your grocery bill when shopping in-store versus online to see if you’re spending more.
Also, you cannot control specific items. For example, the person picking your produce might not offer you the greenest banana in the trash or pick an overripe avocado for taco night later in the week. If you stop using those products, you’re throwing money away.
Prescription and OTC drugs
It’s not just clothes, shoes, and cosmetics that can turn out to be fake when purchased online. The same goes for prescription and over-the-counter medications. It comes down to the fact that there is less control and less regulation over where products come from. To ensure you get exactly what you paid for, go through an authorized pharmacy.
Everything purchased online must have a Buyer Beware sticker. Because you don’t know where it came from or if it’s what you thought it was. Jewelry is also a product that is frequently counterfeited. If you buy online, make sure it’s a trusted seller and that you pay with a credit card. Credit cards have more protections than other payment methods.
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