By Carol Harrison
The Village Financial Resource Center
I prefer to shop online. I tend to shop when there are specials and free shipping to avoid the extra costs, and I also prefer that there be free return shipping or a brick-and-mortar store nearby so that, if I need to, I can return items without paying to send them back. I search the internet for discount codes for the product I need or for the “store” at which I’ll be shopping. Some sites you might want to check out for discounts include retailmenot.com, coupons.com, currentcodes.com and coupons.answers.com. But stay away from sites that make you download software or enter financial information to access the codes.
There are times that I want to order something for a specific event such as a wedding. In those cases, I put off ordering in hopes that I can snag a discounted price. Recently I gave in and purchased an item without finding a discount because I was running out of time. As it turns out two days later they were offering 25 percent off and free shipping on orders. But there was a disclaimer saying that this offer didn’t apply to pending or previous orders. But, that didn’t stop me from trying to get the discount on my order. I quickly shot off a chat message to the company, including my order number and date of purchase.
An agent responded: “I’m sorry, per the disclaimer of the promotion code it states that it cannot be applied to pending or previous orders.” But, I’m a pretty determined shopper, and that didn’t end it for me. My response back: “So, in essence I could return the items to a local store and then repurchase them using this discount code.” The agent responds “You may do so if you choose, however, I’ll be happy to apply the 25 percent off as a courtesy.” Voila! I got the discount I was hoping for without the trouble of returning and/or re-ordering.
When shopping online, make sure you only do business with protected or secured websites. There are two general indications of a secured web page: 1) Look for indicators that the site is secure, like a URL that begins “https” (the “s” stands for secure). 2) Look for the “Lock” icon. It looks like a padlock.
If you are facing financial difficulties or just have money-related questions, The Village Financial Resource Center is here to help. Call us at (800) 450-4019 or visit helpwithmoney.org.