Avoiding Scams During the Upcoming Holiday Sales Events
Shopping in “the old days”
My mom always catalog shopped for Christmas. Crowds bothered her. She didn’t enjoy meandering through a store looking for the perfect gift, either. But once I grew up, I dove right into the whole black Friday sales deals.
When I was growing up, I remember the hours it took to stuff and deliver all the newspapers on my brothers’ for routes. My dad’s poor station wagon just dragged on the ground until half the routes were done. For us kids, it was just a way to see all the toys that were coming out. We had already scoured, dog-eared and wrote extensive lists from the Montgomery Ward catalog, but now we saw everything else and added to or modified our lists.
Enter Online Sales…And Doorbusters
Yesterday’s catalog sales are today’s online sales. And Thanksgiving with family has turned into just another day to shop the sales (BOO!!!).
Legit or Scam?
But with all the excitement, commotion, marketing, price cutting, “best deal” claims come cautions. Is that doorbuster 65″ TV that’s 50% off the SAME TV as you’d get on another day? Most likely not, according to this article.
When buying online, are you buying from an actual store site, or a replicated site just to steal your money? Do you know the site, even? Hint: avoid links!! Type in the name of the store and go to their main site.
Watch for site shifting
Earlier this year, I was offered a deal from a site I knew and tested on some products from Sam’s club without a membership. They said it was a partnership with Google Express to introduce you to their site. But once I got to the checkout, that wasn’t true. You could LOOK free, but ordering meant signing up for a Sam’s card. I had a number of things in my cart. Some did say they would ship free. Again, I had gone to the Sam’s part of their “store.” But I didn’t know these items were coming from another place – a place that had an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The products were name brand products, but were shipped incorrectly. The liquid detergent – a huge bottle – was stuck in the same box with dry items, including dry dishwasher soap in a cardboard box. You guessed it, the cleaner leaked, the dry items were wet and damaged from the weight of being banged around since they didn’t use any packing materials (and should never have put the gallon bottle of laundry soap with other products).
Multiple emails to the company went unanswered. I found a phone number for them and called daily. It went to an answering machine. I was upset.
About a week to 10 days after my order was delivered, Google emailed to get my impressions of their Google Express service. I wrote what happened, gave dates for the calls and emails and the fact that since then I learned the company had an F rating with the BBB.
Google was really good about it. They not only refunded my order amount back to my bank card, but also gave me a gift certificate for the same amount and a 15% off coupon, both to be used on my next order. Truthfully, I felt so burned, I never used the gift certificate or discount. I’ve never shipped on Google Express since.
So be careful this holiday season. Make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for from companies you know and trust. And while your credit card can become compromised at any time, but especially during the holidays, your credit card offers you more protection than paying by cash.
Here’s the article with more hints about safely shopping this holiday season.