Avoid the Biggest Web Shopping Annoyances

PCWorld today posted an article on circumnavigating hassles while shopping online.

• “Short technology-product cycles may be a fact of life, but some retailers aggravate the problem by knowingly foisting older gear on customers–or at the very least, by not making clear to buyers whether the items in stock are nearing obsolescence.” This is a good point. Make sure you don’t buy a new iPod two weeks before the next model comes out. No, we never did that. (Yes, we fucking did.)

• Watch out for bogus reviews. “The problem of bogus reviews has arisen even at well-known sites such as Amazon.com.” Oh, so true.

• Complain to the Better Business Bureau if something goes horribly wrong. “The good news: Amazon usually issues a refund to consumers who complain to the BBB about shipping delays.”

More at PC World

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  1. Falconfire says:

    one of the things I always did when I worked for Apple was tell people to hold off purchases until after certain key dates (without letting my boss know about it of course)

    reason being if there was no upgrade in the products then they could just get what they wanted. if there was a upgrade, then I didnt have to worry about them freaking out and canceling a order or getting pissed off the computers they just bought 4 weeks ago where “old” because there was a new one out.

  2. MostNutsEver says:

    Its hard to pick out bogus reviews, but the system I use is to scan a sizable amount of the ratings that consumers are giving an item. On say a scale of 1-5, if there are a solid amount of customers giving reviews that contradict each other, then I play it safe and look for something else. If a reviewer can’t seem to find anything bad to say about a product, thats also a sign that its fake. What do you use to determine if a review is fake?

  3. Kornkob says:

    It’s acutally really hard, especially if ‘user reviewed’. Between the fan boys who can’t say enough good and the customers with unreasonable expectations it can be really hard to collect an honest review.

  4. Jesse in Japan says:

    At the rate Apple releases new iPod models, it’s virtually impossible to buy an iPod without a newer model coming out two weeks later.

  5. With “stuff” I look for “I used this in my XXX, and it worked like XXX” instead of the “best thing I ever bought!!!!eleventyone!” If they’ve taken the time to tell a story about it, they’re either really well-paid product flogs or they actually use it.

    Oh, the other thing I like about amazon is that you can see if the person has reviewed other products, which can sometimes give you a better idea of the quality of their reviews if you’re unsure.

    With books and music I feel like it’s easier to tell who’s pushing an agenda … and who just has similar taste to yours.

  6. spanky says:

    Kornkob: User reviews (and professional newspaper-type reviews) are really the only reviews that might be genuine.

    Reviews originating from anyone in the bookselling business are designed to sell books, not to help the buyer make a more informed decision.

    I used to do Amazon reviews, and I was not allowed to submit a negative review. (Or rather, I guess I was allowed to, but they would have rejected it and not paid me.)

    In some cases, I could just refuse to review a book that sucked too hard, but for high profile books where they expect a lot of attention, they will always run a glowing review no matter how terrible the book is.

  7. Chaoticfluffy says:

    Well, as a partial solution: All you mac-lovin’, iPod-owning geeks – yeah the ones that own an ipod in every color, size, and storage flavor – as you move on up to the east side…I mean as you move on up the hierarchy of iPod tech, consider giving away/selling cheap older models you know you’d never bother with again.

    Got a friend who can only afford to pay up to, well $25 bucks on a music player? Got an old 2G or 3G pod that’s soooo obolete for your purposes? Ding ding ding we have a winner! Donate the pod, maybe get a little cash in return. The thing would be useless to you anyway, sitting on a shelf, but now you’ll have earned a friend for life!

  8. Jesse in Japan says:

    Actually, you can very easily rip the hard drive out of an old iPod and use a 2.5″ external hard drive case to make a small, but better-than-nothing little external hard drive.

  9. KevinQ says:

    On sites like Amazon, I generally skip the positive reviews, and just read the negatives. If something keeps coming up in a few of the reviews, then I take it under advisement. If the reviews are inexact, or don’t agree, then I look for information elsewhere.

    K

  10. adamondi says:

    My biggest web shopping annoyances are poorly designed sites. This is one of the reasons that I almost never use a Pricewatch style site to find the place to buy my stuff. I would rather spend 5% more on the item and buy it from a place with a great system in place than get the biggest discount and then find out later that they were transmitting my credit card details in cleartext because no one running the site knew anything about secure transmission.

    Of course, every so often you can find a site that has great prices AND an excellent system in place. For example: Newegg. Or Thinkgeek.