Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Researching New Retailers

One of the hardest things about finding deals and good prices is knowing which retailers to trust. Some of the best deals come from new up-and-coming companies, yet a store without name recognition may also just be looking to harvest your email or scam you out of money.

Before you start clicking and ordering you want to check out a company and website's reputation. The first step is to Google the company name and see if results like "HUGE SCAM" show up. The next step is to head to the Better Business Bureau and ResellerRatings. Both of these sites have merchant reviews and are even great for seraching brick and mortar stores and service providers as well as online businesses. Don't focus on any one review. Instead look at multiple reviews across the websites to be sure you get an accurate depiction. Make sure reviews are current and look for specific details. Fake reviews paid for by companys are often heavy on adjectives and light on actual descriptions of product or experiences.

Make sure you have a way of contacting this company in the case of an issue. Is there a clear channel for contacting the retailer? If not this is very suspicious. Call phone numbers to make sure you can get an actual person on the line and send an email to listed emails to make sure these are active accounts that someome is monitoring.

ALWAYS know the return policy before you buy. Also be aware of the warranty and how to use it. Make sure to read the fine print about who pays for return shipping if it is needed and be on the lookout for "restocking" fees. Yes, they even charge to restock things like electronic items that require no actual physical stocking.

When in doubt use a service like paypal to pay rather than giving out your credit card info. You can also contact you bank for a "virtual" number that you can use in place of a credit card. Banks provide this service for free. Numbers are one time use only or limited to a dollar amount that you determine ahead of time.


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