Today I’m back with some of my online shopping and shipping tips. It seem’s every so often there seems to be a kerfuffle when I place an online order. And because it seems I do a lot of online ordering, there’s bound to be mix-ups or snafus every once in awhile. I will add that thankfully, I’m not yet at the stage in life where I must have my groceries delivered, as I much prefer to choose my own produce and make sure I’m not getting any dented cans or ‘almost ready to expire’ products. My latest snag prompted me to write this post so I can share a few handy tips on what to look out for when placing an online order.
So what prompted this little informative rant? I was recently on a hunt for my favorite lipstick, which I sadly discovered is soon being discontinued – once again, as many of my favs have disappeared through the years in Sephora. My first go to site was our big pharma site with a host of beauty products they sell online but not in all their stores as there are a multitude of product lines and only so many a store can carry. I prefer to check out sites in Canada first, as if I have to order from the U.S. I get hit with a multitude of duties on top of outside Canada shipping. When I get that desperate (as I have with other products gone astray), only then will I order from Ulta in the U.S. who, like Sephora, carry all cosmetic lines.
My recent order through Shopper’s Drug Mart required a minimum of $50 spent to get free shipping. As I have currently stockpiled 5 of these lipsticks, I thought I’d order a few more for my collection and of course the order came to $49 and change – pennies short of free shipping, so I decided to add in a bronzing cream I love because my current one is almost empty, but could have waited a month or so for. So my order now was well over $50. A few days after I placed my order I received an email confirmation, “Your order has shipped”, only at the bottom of the email, there was a notice saying – sorry the lipsticks are out of stock. The email had a new total being charged to my card – now well under $50, but they had taken the liberty now to charge me an additional $8 for shipping! No way was I paying shipping on that order!
Here’s the deal online companies, if items are out of stock which weren’t out of stock when I ordered, I think I deserve the courtesy of knowing before hand in a separate email, offering me a chance to add to the order or cancel. But they took the liberty of sending the bronzer cream without the rest of my order and slapping a shipping charge on. I promptly called their customer service number and told them exactly what I wrote here. ‘Please don’t take the liberty to ship half an original order without my consent and adding your shipping charge because YOU couldn’t fulfill the order.’ Yes, it was a bit time consuming, but I don’t appreciate companies taking my money without my consent. And of course, they reversed the shipping charge.
When online shopping, it’s important to check our emailed receipts to make sure we haven’t been wrongly charged, and correct sizes and items are listed to make sure receive exactly what we ordered – even with that, sometimes wrong things are sent in error, but checking receipts and Visa statements are a first line defense.
I do usually order online from my specific favorite companies and am pretty familiar with their shipping practices. But when I order from an unfamiliar site, the first thing I do before ordering is click on their shipping policies to learn what I’m up against.
What to Look at When Ordering Online
First, if you’re unfamiliar with shopping on a certain site, I recommend Googling them up to check out reviews and recommends for that site, which will undoubtedly give you an idea of their customer service, should you require contacting them. I’ve come across a few popular sites over time that majority of complaints from customers was the terrible customer service and policies when it came to returns. That’s enough info for me to send me looking somewhere else to do my business. We should also check for reviews on a product we’re interested in ordering, on the actual site. Reading product reviews gives us a better idea of the product once someone has actually received theirs. Now, this isn’t to say that all reviews are helpful, as many of us readers know, not all book reviews are useful and sometimes irrelevant to a book.
Reviews are supposed to be helpful for others to aid in helping us make our decision to purchase. Sure, it’s okay to state how much you may love a product, but not adding any descriptions, such as sizing issues if it’s a garment or shoe, actual size of a product compared to what’s advertised, shipping issues, etc., isn’t helpful.
Below, I’ve done a little comparison of what to include in a good product review as opposed to what isn’t helpful:
- Size comparisons, such as: “I’m usually a size 6 or small, and I needed to size up in this.”
- This shoe fit too tight – size up.
- This blender died after 2 months use – if I see a few of these comments, I’m on to a different brand.
- The color of the product isn’t the same as what’s displayed on product page.
- Book reviews that give some insight to fellow readers what the book is about, how they related to plot or characters, pacing, something the reader took from the book, and how the book left them feeling.
- I love it!
- So beautiful, glad I ordered it.
- Wished I ordered in more colors.
- Book reviews with no substance and nothing to entice a fellow reader.
I know as an online shopper, I rely a lot on other people’s reviews before I venture into making a purchase. Good reviews help others make an informed decision. Yes, it’s okay to share the love for a product we’re happy about, but without adding useful information, a review will serve no purpose other than to high-five the seller.
Remember this checklist before making your online purchase:
- Check reviews on the site you’re ordering from.
- Check shipping policies and ‘additional’ charges – especially if you are going to order from out of your country.
- Check reviews under products you’re interested in purchasing, and read both negative and positive comments to help aid your purchase decisions.
- Check Customer Service and ‘Contact Us’ on the site to make sure their return policy is fair and doesn’t require you to take a hit as penalty for returns, and that there is a contact phone number.
- MAKE sure when placing an order on a site that isn’t from your country that you click on the right currency for your country, because if you will be paying in foreign dollars, you are looking at an exchange rate plus an additional bank charge on your credit card for the conversion. This will help you decide if paying the additional exchange plus shipping and duties are really worth purchasing the item.
- Lastly, if you get surprisingly dinged for a shipping charge unjustly added, make sure to contact the company to have the charge removed.
Remember: It’s important to always check your receipts, emails, and credit card statements to make sure you haven’t been wrongly charged.
If you would like to add a situation you may have encountered that could help others, please feel free to add to the conversation in comments.