With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to share some of my best online shopping tips with you all. Read more to learn how you can have a secure and easy time shopping this holiday season! Love, your favorite Silicon Valley personal stylist.
1. Always check the return policies for stores. Many stores have common return policies such as 30 days from delivery, but some only give you 7-14 days. It is most common for the return window to begin upon delivery, shipment, or purchase, but be aware of the fine print that might indicate refundability upon “fulfillment”… What does that even mean?? Also, watch out for the return policies that make it seem like you can get a full refund when all they offer is store credit. One time I had a return policy change on me when I went to return something — when I bought it it was eligible for a full refund… until the store changed it to policy store credit. Luckily I had proof of the return policy upon purchase, so I was able to have the store honor it for me.
2. Make sure the company is real. There seems to be more and more clothing companies that have beautiful ads on Instagram, and pose as real sites — beware! If you have never heard of them, look up the name of the company, and reference websites like the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Sitejabber, and Trustpilot. Discussion boards like Quora and Reddit can also reveal whether a website is legit or not, as well as the quality of their products and customer service. #stylisttip ! To help determine the reputability of second hand sellers, check out their profile for their reviews and history of sold items. If the reviews are decent (because 5 stars can be suspicious too) and there’s an extensive list of former sales, chances are that you’ll be getting what you pay for.
3. Don’t shop on public wifi without a VPN (virtual private network). Resist the urge to procrastinate-shop while working at your local cafe — scammers flock to public wifi hotspots, where unsuspecting remote-workers, email-checkers and online-shoppers freely share sensitive information online. Take precautions against credit card theft by using a VPN while browsing on public wifi; by encrypting all of your device’s internet traffic, VPNs are a line of defense to make it difficult for hackers to collect your personal data. The last thing you need to deal with before the holiday season or at the start of the New Year, is to deal with fraudulent charges on your credit card that could’ve been prevented with this safe online shopping practice.
4. Document defective/incorrect items right away!! Companies can be stubborn and slow to respond when it comes to replacing items or providing refunds, so take pictures, let them know about the faulty product, and send back the return form as soon as possible.
5. Move emailed receipts to a Receipts folder to ensure that they don’t get deleted, and are saved until after the product has arrived and been tested by you. In the case that the product doesn’t arrive or arrives faulty, you’ll need proof of purchase to proceed with the replacement or refund process. #stylisttip! Many times you can get a store credit, or receive a price-adjustment if the item goes on sale within two weeks of purchasing it.
6. Compare the prices of your cart items by searching for cheaper retailers online.
7. Be aware of sizing. Always check the reviews on the website from other shoppers to see if the item runs true to size, smaller, or bigger. Also, if you are purchasing items from a different country, then make sure to use size comparison charts.