We’ve all made mistakes online, right? Please tell me I am not alone. I try to be oh-so-savvy but sometimes there is a deal that I just cannot pass up or I am in a rush to find something and I take a chance on a site I have never seen or heard of…and something goes wrong. Shopping online is the main way I shop. Period. I don’t have time to hit the mall with 3 little kids and honestly, I don’t get much done if they are there. From clothes to electronics to books and equipment, I shop online. I am usually quite good at it, if I do say so myself.
This fall I am excited to partner with American Express Membership Rewards and their Online Savvy Shopper Program. You want to be a savvy shopper. American Express is going to help us avoid mistakes and stay smart online. They are also going to give one lucky reader $250 in gift cards and awesome merchandise. You know, that will go a long way in relieving the pain of past mistakes.
My Online Shopping Mistake
American Express asked me to share one memorable online mistake with you and then ask you to share one of yours. We can all feel bad together and then learn our lessons well!
A few years ago I was all into joining membership sites after seeing their free trials. I was just getting into blogging and I thought I was finding some great deals and awesome programs. I could lose baby weight, I could be a premium member of some cool site I thought I would use all the time, I could get advice from the pros. I was hooked. I gave my credit card information to a few membership sites. Let me be clear, these are reputable companies but they do not all have great customer service in terms of a customer wanting to leave. I wanted the free trial. The only problem was, I forgot about dates and a few of the free trials expired. In one, I tried to cancel and was unable to figure out how. I was stuck, for a long time, with a subscription I did not want. I was even confused by some as they did not bill monthly, but quarterly, and I did not see the charge until it was too late. When I did see the charge, it was from some unknown company that did not ring a bell in my head. At all.
I got a lot smarter with all kinds of shopping online after this.
In full disclosure, infomercials still get me. I know, I need help.
Basic Tips to Avoid Disappointment
1. Know the rules of engagement. Return policies and cancellation rules are key to keeping things you don’t want from staying on your card and taking the money you do want. Also, remember that many daily deal sites or steeply discounted product sites have no return policy. One you pay, it is yours.
Tip: Add the drop dead dates to your calendar…minus a few days to be safe. You should then get a reminder to make a decision on your membership, that pair of boots or that outfit that your daughter refuses to wear.
American Express Bonus: With your American Express card you have 90 days of purchase protection on like new items valued up to $300 for a total of $1000 per year. How awesome is that? 90 days is much longer than the standard return policy of most online retailers.
2. Buy from a site you know and trust. I would add to this a site with a super easy return policy like Bluefly or Zappos! or Amazon. It is awesome to know that a site is reputable and that you will be able to easily return items that don’t work for you. Sometimes that extra 10% off isn’t worth it if you are stuck with it no matter what or if…worst case…you never receive the item or nowhere near in time for that trip you bought it for.
3. Keep track of what you spend and the cards you spend it on. If you have a partner or kids in the house who also spend, make sure you all know what the charges are on each card. We have had fraudulent charges on our cards that I assumed were my husband’s and he assumed were mine. Thank goodness American Express took care of it, but had we never noticed, the charges would have remained on our card.
4. Use a credit card online and not a debit card. You should have a credit card with protection. Believe me, it is easier to dispute a credit card charge than to get actual cash put back in your bank account. Way easier.
5. It is just better to use a card with rewards and having been an American Express card holder for more than a decade, it is so worth it. From their great deals to their vast product selection to their travel experts, I am always delighted to know I am earning points I will actually use with my Membership Rewards. If only I could save them up for college tuition. That would be a dream!
Share Your Online Shopping Mistake for a Chance to Win!
One lucky Mommy Words reader will win $250 in merchandise or giftcards or a combination of both through American Express Membership Rewards. You just need to share your online shopping mistake! Here’s the deets.
A Gift card in denominations of $50, $100 or $250 to Saks Fifth Avenue, Zappos.com or Nieman Marcus
Selected Awesome Merchandise:
North Face Denali Jacket (Retail $165)
Michael Kors Hamilton Medium Messenger Bag (Retail $248.00)
Dooney and Bourke Dillen II Satchel (Retail $248.00)
TUMI Ducati Tank Medium Backpack (Retail $245.00)
Next week I will be writing about my fall must-haves and providing you with another chance to win!
Good Luck! This is quite a prize! Entry requirements are below.
Disclosure: I am being compensated with an American Express membership awards gift card. The opinions expressed are all my own.