Unhappy With Your Online Purchase? Here’s What to Do...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

--Guest Post By Marcela De Vivo

Making a purchase online can be a bit of a double-edged sword. You’ve got the benefit of convenience as well as not having to drive to an actual store, while also having a much bigger pool and selection of products to pick from.

The downside is that you can’t always see exactly what you’re buying, therefore, you’re forced to trust the retailer or online seller to get you the item in one piece and in the condition you expected after you’ve already paid for it.

What to do when you're unhappy with an online purchase - online shopping computer

Making online purchases can present many situations in which you either end up with a product that you’re unhappy with or it doesn’t even come close to meeting your expectations.

When that does happen, how do you deal with it?

How you go about dealing with a purchase you are unhappy with depends on the retailer, their policies and, to some degree, their reputation. There are usually several options you’ll have at your disposal if your online purchase turns out to be not that great of a deal after all.

1. Check the store’s return policy

Returning something you bought online is usually not the most appetizing solution, but if you’re dealing with a reputable retailer, they’ll often send you the packaging, pay for shipping and do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Typically, these policies are readily available and easy to find on a company’s website. Try to know the return policy ahead of time, especially if you’re purchasing something that is difficult to ship or move around yourself.

2. Check to see if you can return the item to a local store

Large retailers, like Best Buy and Staples, will allow you to return products you bought online to the nearest retail location. This will probably be the easiest and most straightforward option, so give the retailer you’re buying from a call and see if they’ll accept returns locally.

3. Pick up the phone and have a conversation

Since you made an online purchase, it might be tempting to continue to deal with the problem via the internet; however. in a situation where you feel your money was wasted, picking up the phone and giving the company’s sales department a call will usually yield desirable results.

Phone conversations are generally more productive and friendlier than what would occur over a chat client or email. Stack the odds in your favor by getting a representative on the phone and pleading your case. If the company cares about their reputation, they’ll take you seriously and treat you quite well.

4. Check with your bank

Most banks actually cover your purchases online, so that if you end up getting scammed or dealing with a situation where you can’t get your money back, they’ll reimburse you. This is a worst case scenario, but if it gets to this point, get in touch with your bank and see if they can help you. It’s probably wise to check on this before you start purchasing things online.

Being Careful

Online purchasing fiascos can rarely be prevented. Fortunately, systems are getting more secure and reliable; however, there’s still some room for mistakes and mishaps, so just be careful while you do your online shopping.

Make sure to use and contribute to feedback and rating systems that allow the online community to rate private sellers. You can also utilize blog articles to check for the reliability of certain retailers and products.

As a last line of defense, try to just stick to the bigger and more reputable online retailers. Overall, the most reliable retailers will have better packaging as well as customer service.

Amazon and eBay deal with situations like these quite often, so they know how to help you and will be quick to do so.

Otherwise, all we can do is hope for the best.

is a freelance writer who specializes in technology, health and travel. She loves shopping online; however, she always makes sure to check the reliability of an online retailer before making any purchases.