online shopping tips to save money & time
As someone who works at a call center, taking calls for various retail establishments, may I pass one a few tips?
In regards to promos and specials, click on the "details" link! Look for restrictions and expiration dates.
Also, click on promo banners! In many cases only certain items are eligible for the deal and clicking on the website promo will bring up a page of those eligible items.
Understand that some online retailers now have this nifty verbage in their "details" link or on their website info pages that reserves the right to change or modify promotions as they see fit. And they will.
If there is an expiration date more than likely that ends at 23:59 EST. Yes, it sucks for those in other time zones but a date and time is programmed into the shopping cart system. There is no way to override that, and most retailers will not allow Customer Service Reps to honor them after the fact.
DO NOT wait until the last minute! I have more customers tell me they waited until the last minute. Why???? nothing will be gained, and you risk loss of stock and expiration of promotions/deals.
Make note of Processing Dates! Most sites will have some notation along the lines of "Item in stock. Will ship in 2 - 3 business days". These can NOT be expedited and are not part of the shipping time frame. If you pay for overnight shipping, it will still be 2 to 3 days for the company to process your order, and then hand it off to the shipping company.
Sign up on the retail sites you like, or thinking of buying from. Create a Hotmail, Yahoo, or GMail account just for that to keep your normal inbox clean. Many retailers send out specific links or promo codes to members. Quite a few have "private sales" also :)
Retailers have no control over what 3rd party websites post (places like 'retailmenot', 'currentcode.com', etc). And most, when they find out stuff is being posted, will discontinue the deal or promo code. I had more folks upset because Yahoo said something was free shipping when that particular deal was 2 weeks ago. And no, retailers will not honor it.
Exchanges are a thing of the past, especially with online retailers. If you return something you will be credited for the cost of the merchandise. If you want another size or color, place a brand new order.
Every time you place an order, it is a brand new order. They do not 'add up' individual orders. Many retailers will offer free shipping over a certain amount. Therefore your single order needs to meet or exceed that amount. We will not look at three smaller orders and consider that over the amount needed.
If something is "Buy One, Get One", then you need to place TWO of that item in your shopping cart. The deal should appear when you looking your virtual shopping cart.
Be aware that many banks will still put a temporary hold for the amount of your online order - Even If Your Order Does Not Process - when you use a debt or credit card. These temp holds will drop off automatically but some banks take 2 to 3 business days for that process.
'Business Days' means Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then only if not a federal holiday.
If you are using one of the pre-paid cards (like a Visa card) call the 800# on the back of your card, or go to website listed, and REGISTER your card. Many shopping cart systems verify cards by the name and the billing address assigned to a card. With these pre-paid cards the bank or credit card company is coming up as the registered owner and the order may fail. And yes, you'll have that annoying temporary hold on your funds until it drops off.
When you register your card make note of how you listed your name & address exactly. Plus understand that some of their systems take 24 hours to update so register your info as soon as you get one of these cards.
Retailers are simply not providing Reps with discount codes like they used to. Or they are restricting the usage to specific situations. Sadly the days of calling up asking for codes are no longer. And no, demanding a code doesn't work.
I know the systems I work with do not allow stacking of promo codes. It is possible that most online retailers are going the same way. In other words, you can only use one promo or get one deal at a time. For example: if any item is listed as free shipping and you have a 10% code, you will probably NOT get both. Figure out which one is the most advantageous for you.
"Free Shipping", unless otherwise specified, is normally ground or standard shipping, and only available to continental U.S. Sorry Territories, Alaska, and Hawaii :(