How to Find Safe Online Stores – Online Store Reviews

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How to Determine Whether an Online Merchant Can Be Trusted popular stores

How many times have you seen a good deal online but hesitated because you were not familiar with the company selling it? This is a common problem and can cause either lots of potential savings to be missed or headaches to occur. Many shoppers buy everything from amazon. There are many other stores with better prices especially in apparel and technology..

It’s wise to be cautious when making purchases online. An acquaintance of mine recently ordered 1,000 USB sticks printed with his company logo from an online dealer whose prices beat everyone else on the web. Too good to be true? You betcha. After arduous calls and a tedious complain process with his credit card company, he recovered his money. He’s one of the lucky ones.

To determine whether or not a company deserves your business, follow this step-by-step method:

1. Examine their website. If it looks unprofessional, you should probably avoid buying from the company. Are there misspelled words? Click away, and fast!

2. Ask your friends, family or post on a social network asking if anyone you know has shopped from the store.

3. If the site does not have a clearly stated return policy, refund policy, warranty or guarantee, don’t buy from them.

4. If a site doesn’t support “SSL” or Secure Checkout, don’t buy from them. Otherwise you may be opening yourself up to even more detrimental credit fraud down the road.

5. Check store reviews online and get the website’s rating from several trusted review sites. The key is to look for a website that removes ‘shill’ reviews but has a large enough number of reviews for each online store. Beware that many reviews are written right after the user has checked out. These are invalid in our mind, because the consumer has received nothing at that point to base their opinion upon.

Top online store review sites and ‘background check’ methods include:

a. http://www.resellerratings.com/
b. http://www.google.com/products/seller?zmi=amazon.com – replace amazon.com with the domain name of the online store you are investigating
c. http://buyvia.pgpartner.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=869375722 – Pricegrabber has reviews for online store listing products on their site.
d. http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/ - The BBB accredited businesses are more reliable online store.
e. https://www.ripoffreport.com/
f. http://www.pissedconsumer.com

6.  Look for clearly labeled contact information including a phone number and physical address. Are they hiding their address, move on to another store.

7.  See if the online store has a newsletter or email sign-up form. A company that wants to stay in touch is less likely to be a short-term scam operation.

8.  Call or email the online store’s customer service to see if they answer/reply. But be aware that this is not a guarantee of trustworthiness and safety! If you have any suspicions at all by the reply or call, or doubt the person’s professionalism, find a different online store.

9.  Google the name of the store along with “complaints.” (i.e ‘StoreName’ complaints)

10.  Ensure that the site provides detailed information about the product, including specifications or measurements for apparel. Check other safe sites offering the same product to ensure that these are not simply ‘cut and pasted’ to the site in question.

11.  What types of payments does the store accept? Stores that accept credit cards are typically more reliable than ones that only accept PayPal. Stores that are ‘Verified by Visa’ are a step above other stores.

12.  Does the site accept third-party payment solutions such as Google Checkout, Amazon Payments, PayPal, Square, and Visa’s V.me? The more payment types they support, the more legitimate they may be. If they accept Paypal, are they Paypal Verified?

13.  Does the store have any social media presence? This would include a Facebook and/or Twitter page. Is there activity on these pages?

14.  The online store should have a visible privacy policy and security safeguards.

15.  Be on the lookout for hidden fees and shipping as you complete your order. Online stores should be transparent about all costs before checkout.

If the online store meets all of the above criteria and you are comfortable with making the purchase, do the following:

• Place your order with a credit card, not a debit card. This will typically limit your liability to $50.

• Print out and save any order confirmations and watch for shipping confirmations.

• Monitor your credit card statement to ensure it is charged the correct amount. Dispute any differences right away.

To ensure that you find reliable online store, check store reviews online and also go through our safe online shopping checklist above.

Now you know how to do an online store review. Have you ever fallen victim to an online scam site? What lessons did you learn from the process?

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4 responses to “How to Find Safe Online Stores – Online Store Reviews”

  1. […] very important that you make sure that do some research on exactly what you’re getting into. BuyVia has a really great resource for giving an online retailer a sniff test to make sure your purchases […]

  2. Rose says:

    I ordered from an online store by the name of comcipucha a week ago.I received an confirmation via email however no return address, phone number or working email address. There isn’t a tracking number either. I disputed it with my card company worried that it’s a scam! The company states it’s a third party through amazon. I should’ve went with my first mind when it saud don’t do it!

  3. […] online retail store, first run a background check on it. Or more realistically, Google it. See if other shoppers have used it, and critically review their feedback. There are several review sites out there, but […]

  4. Ed Morrow says:

    DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM THIS WEBSITE or you will b e screwed, blued and tattooed. I purchased an icemaker (order 27727862) on 2/18/20 and it arrived on friday 2/21/20. I even purchased their 2yr protection plan. Over the weekend I hooked it up and it was totally unacceptable. Something made a noise so loud I couldn’t keep it in the same room as the TV. On Monday morning 2/24/20 I called Overstock. com and told them about the problem and that I wanted to return it. Case #11146137. It turns out they are selling products for third parties other than themselves. They said they would contact 3rd party. Overstock advertised that all purchases had a 30 day refund which you have to have when you buy online as you don’t have the opportunity to actually see the product. The third party was OneBigOutlet.com out of California, and through Overstock.com told me to send a video to them of the problem and they would decide whether to replace it or fix it. I let overstock.com know that I am not overly tech savy and didn’t know how to send a video let alone send it from telephone to them. I heard nothing more and meanwhile I asked someone for aid in taking the video and sending it to them. On 3/9/20 I called overstock.com and asked what was happening and they said the third party was waiting on the video. I told them that I had to ask someone else to do the video and send it to them and if it didn’t make it through internet it was too late for I had cleaned item and boxed it up for reshipment. Further since I hadn’t heard back for a couple of weeks, I contacted Walmart.com, whom I have dealt with before and trust, and replaced the icemaker. It came two days later and worked perfect, or I would have been without ice that I use daily. Told them I just wanted to return the bad one and just to send me a shipping label. Actually I want to send it to Overstock.com for that is whom I bought it from and not a third party. I have not since heard anything. On 3/18/20 I sent them a msg that I just wanted it returned and my account credited. I have since seen an attorney and was informed that like so man y online websites that overstock looked like a sham seller and he even found in one of my emails from them that in fine print states that “third party sales returns could be different than Overstock’s. He found this on a confirmation from Overstock of my purchase, that was from a third party which I didn’t even know about at purchase.

    So here I sit with a unacceptable ice maker, even with the two year warranty, and am out the $107 purchase price,which seems like less than it would cost me to sue. I hope this comment and rating will save many of you from loosing your money also. If anyone else has experienced a similar sham purchase, I would be happy to join in a class action suit against them. It would have to be against Overstock.com as I didn’t deal with the third party until after the purchase.
    Ed Morrow

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