Tips for Ordering Online…says Carol

By Carol Odell

A friend ordered a prom dress from China through eBay for her daughter. Before ordering she had researched the company’s track record and found it stellar.

After the prom dress didn’t arrive in the promised time, she contacted the company only to learn that the dress had been shipped to an address in North Carolina. Communication with the company was frustrating as there was a language barrier.

Having not received an acceptable response from the company, my friend contacted eBay. Bad news, she was told because she had ordered the dress as a “guest” and not a member of eBay there was nothing eBay could do, their dispute resolution process was only for members.

Since she went through PayPal she decided to contact them as well. Again, the same story, since she was a guest and not a member of PayPal, there was nothing they could do. She is out $169.00 — and worse, she had an extremely disappointed daughter.

My friend has learned you cannot make any assumptions when ordering online even when dealing with a highly rated company, each company will have its own policies. Make sure you know what they are.

Some tips to follow before ordering are:

  • Know what the return policy is with all parties involved.
  • Is the return policy the same for all customers?
  • Know what will be the latest shipping date? Also, note that it could be after the return policy date voiding your chances to return the item.
  • What is the policy if the order gets lost? Be sure you file a claim within the allotted time frame. Companies may try to put you off past the timeframe to file a claim.
  • Remember to only use a credit card, not a debit card.
  • Print out confirmation of the order with the promised shipping date.

Do you have an interesting story about ordering online? Love to hear it.

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