Online shopping is so convenient, but not all online purchases are smart purchases. That being said, you might want to think twice before purchasing these items online.
10. Used Cars
According to BUSINESS INSIDER, more and more consumers are using the internet for car purchases. Unfortunately, that may not be the smartest move to make. Just because the description in the ad sounds nice doesn’t mean the car actually is. “It’s important to test drive and inspect a used car for wear and tear and have a mechanic look under the hood,” consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch told Reader’s Digest.
For those of you who want to purchase a car online anyway, BUSINESS INSIDER offers these tips to avoid getting scammed:
-Shop on reputable websites
-Never send money without meeting the seller first
-Don’t believe the picture you see
-Only use websites with secure transactions
-Use secure and traceable payments
-Don’t share your personal information
-Stay calm under pressure
-Buy local whenever possible
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are many pharmacy websites that operate legally. There are also many rogue internet-based pharmacies that claim to sell prescription meds at deep discounts, often without requiring a valid prescription. Unfortunately, these pharmacies often sell counterfeit or unapproved medicines outside the safeguards followed by licensed pharmacies. What’s even scarier is that these websites may actually be operated by criminals!
Here’s what you need to look out for to protect yourself when purchasing prescription medications online:
-Pharmacies that let you buy prescription medicine without a valid prescription from your healthcare provider
-Pharmacies that do not have a U.S. state-licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions
-Pricing that seems too good to be true
-Pharmacies located outside of the U.S. or ship worldwide
-Pharmacies that send spam or unsolicited email offering cheap medicine
FYI, the FDA urges consumers to take caution when buying pet meds online, too. These drugs can also be counterfeit or unapproved products, and sometimes they may even be expired.
Folks will often go online to purchases tickets to coveted events from resellers. But, Smith Opera House in Geneva, New York, offers a word of caution about buying tickets online. It’s risky because there’s a chance that the delivery of the tickets could be delayed, the opera house says. There’s also the issue of obscene markups and equally ridiculous hidden fees, they added. “Unfortunately, theater box offices like ours have no control over these sites and can provide no recourse to consumers once purchases have been made through them.”
You should always exercise caution when purchasing clothing online. For starters, there’s the issue of vanity sizing. Simply put, vanity sizing is when brands manipulate the size of clothes, particularly women’s clothing so that they’re actually larger than what their label says. To complicate things even further, different designers define sizes differently. This is why you can find the same size jeans at three different stores, and they each fit you a little differently. Vanity sizing is all fine and good if the retailer allows returns or exchanges. If not, then you’ll be stuck with clothes that don’t fit properly.
You also need to beware of pre-owned clothing as they may not fit exactly right either. “It’s pre-worn, so you don’t know if it’s shrunk or if shoes are broken in for someone else’s feet,” Brent Shelton, online shopping expert for FatWallet.com told Reader’s Digest.
Lastly, you’ll want to avoid clothing made with uncommon materials as well. Certain textures may feel uncomfortable next to your skin.
6. Last-Minute Items
If you need a product for an event that’s coming up soon, don’t order it online. Even if you do opt for next-day shipping, it doesn’t mean your item will arrive on time. Sometimes there are delays that are outside of the control of UPS, FedEx, and the USPS. Your best bet is to make a quick dash to a local store and purchase the item there instead. That way you can have it immediately. And, if you need to return or exchange it, you can just make another trip to the store rather than having to wait on the mail to return the product you purchased and deliver the exchanged product to you.
If you’re planning on buying something like mascara, then this type of online purchase isn’t really a problem. But, when it comes to cosmetics you’ve never tried before (e.g. different colors than what you’d normally wear), your best bet is to purchase them in-store. That’s because “a lot of online purchases won’t take things back that have been opened up if it’s sealed like cosmetics,” Shelton told Reader’s Digest. Stores like CVS, Ulta and Sephora, however, do let you return items after they’ve been opened.
TIP: Beware of health and beauty products made outside the U.S. They may not have the same safety standards as those made here in America.
Unless you saw and was able to test out a particular item in the store and decided to purchase it online when you got home, it’s best to avoid shopping for furniture on the internet. Shelton recommends doing your research online first, then going into the store to make a purchase. “There are hundreds of models and types, and you can narrow it down before you go in the store,” he told Reader’s Digest. “Going in the store is going to ensure you’ll be happy with the purchase,” Shelton added.
3. Home Décor
The last thing you want to do is spend money on curtains, rugs, bedding and other home goods only to be unhappy with them when they arrive at your doorstep. But, it happens quite often. That’s because “colors can appear different online, and the quality of the material is impossible to assess by viewing through a Web page,” Andrea Woroch told Reader’s Digest. Buying your home décor in person will ensure that what you’re purchasing matches with what you already have at home.
2. Small Purchases
Most people love the convenience of shopping online. And, while it may seem like a good idea to make small purchases (i.e. toilet paper, Vaseline, dish detergent, cotton swabs, etc.) online, you’ll likely end up paying more that way than you would if you were to just go in a local store and pick them up. This is especially true if you want to shop for small items at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Walmart, Target and the like. By the time you add in shipping and other processing and handling fees, you will have paid way more than you would have if you just hopped in your car, headed to Wally World, and purchased those items in-store.
Chances are those flowers you order through 1-800-Flowers.com or some other online flower service won’t be as fresh as flowers you’d pick up from a brick and mortar store. Or, perhaps you decided to purchase them online to save money. According to Woroch, you don’t have to purchase flowers online to save money on them — you just have to know how to shop. “You save by picking up flowers at the grocery store compared to a local florist,” she told Reader’s Digest.
What online purchases have you regretted? Tell us about them in the comments below. Thanks!