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Everything you need to know about online shopping

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Martí Micolau
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Online shopping - everything you need to know to spend less, buy safely and avoid wasting time. In this article, before getting lost in online shopping, I will try to reveal how to save by paying much less than traditional stores and how to find the lowest price among the various online stores.

I will also show you how to check the reliability of the store (if unknown) and how to get a discount coupon valid for the site on which you have decided to buy.



Everything you need to know about online shopping.

The web is full of scammers and hackers, ready to steal your credit card and ransack your bank account. To avoid this you will need to activate a prepaid card, loading only the credit you want to dedicate to your purchases on it. In short, in this guide to Online Shopping, I will give you all the tips valid for both the purchase of clothing and Hi-tech products and much more.

Safe Payments (Prepaid Card, PostePay, PayPal)

While online transactions are safe, always use one paper Prepaid (almost all rely on the VISA circuit) and never the credit card. This way, in case of theft, you would avoid putting your bank account at risk.

To open a prepaid card, you must contact your bank to have it at no additional cost. At the beginning the paper Prepaid it will be empty, you will have to top it up with the budget you plan to spend on online purchases (for example 300 euros). You can do this by going to the bank counter or through your bank's Internet Banking service. With the same service you can check the balance of your cards online and top up your prepaid card when and how you want.



If, on the other hand, you are not a customer of any bank, the cheapest solution is called American Express, which can be requested at any post office. Unfortunately if you don't have an account BancoPosta, to recharge it you will necessarily have to go to the post office or to an affiliated merchant such as the betting shops Sisal. In this regard, Poste Spagnane has made available a new type of prepaid card called PostePay Evolution, which can be requested at any post office. The difference from the American Express traditional is that the American Express a has an IBAN code thanks to which it is possible to send wire transfers from other accounts to recharge it.

La American Express a it has a duration of 5 years, an issue cost of 5 euros and an annual fee of 10 euros.

Read also: How to recharge the PostePay

To avoid communicating the data associated with the credit card to the sites you can decide to make purchases through the payment method PayPal. This is another form of payment that allows shop online safely and without additional costs, in the sense that the seller alone pays the commissions.

Read also: How to pay with PayPal when shopping on the Internet

In addition to security, PayPal offers the advantage that if you do not receive the purchased product you can open a dispute to get a refund of the full value of the purchase, including shipping costs. To register a PayPal all you have to do is visit the site and register to create an account to which you can link a prepaid or credit card.


How to avoid scams and find valid coupons

The only way to avoid scams is to find out if the seller is trustworthy. The first step is to use the opinions released by users who have already used it. Look for more recent negative comments than anything else and consider whether the criticisms are to be considered heavy or not.


Keep in mind that there are users who also complain about nonsense or for faults not attributable to the store. In case the opinions are absent you can still try TrustPilot or use Google looking for opinions comments name_store. You might land on some forum o blog where users report their experience.

ALSO READ: How to buy online and what precautions to follow

The golden rule when buying from an unfamiliar store for the first time is to buy cheap goods. This way you can personally test and not get ripped off or scammed. Before you pay, check if that store has a discount coupon so that you can drive the price down further. To do this you can go directly to one of the many sites that collect these coupons such as Codicesconto.

In the account code, type the name of the shop and press Submit. Found the discount click on Get the coupon. A new window will open showing you the code to enter on the store site. Enter the coupon in the field COUPON o VOUCHER when you are proceeding with the payment. If in Discount code is not there, you can try on Google to type coupon store_name o voucher shop_name and Research tools choose Last month in place of Any date.


ALSO READ: Coupons, deals and vouchers, here are the differences

If you can't find a coupon, try to check if the site, where you are making the payment, offers a welcome discount for those who make the first purchase or for those who subscribe to the newsletter. By providing your email you may receive in exchange a discount coupon to be included in the current purchase. Many sites also send emails with discount coupons to use for future purchases.


How to save with online purchases

A separate category of online stores are shopping clubs. It is an online store where you can buy products at Sale prices all year round. The best are:

  • Privalia
  • Private sell
  • SaldiPrivati
  • BuyVip

Unlike traditional stores, these online stores offer short-lived sales campaigns. The campaign usually lasts 5-7 days and product availability is very limited. In order not to miss the offers you have to keep an eye on the site and be quick to conclude. On shopping clubs you can also save up to 60-70% of the list price.

There are disadvantages, however. Not having a warehouse, delivery times could be long. Therefore, check the estimated shipping date at the time of purchase.

Read also: The best apps for online shopping

If you don't want to have a new product, with warranty and so on, and you want to save something, you can use sites like: Subito and Kijiiji.

These are sites that do not offer a guarantee on the purchase and that do not act as an intermediary, but limit themselves to putting the buyer and seller in contact. The transaction takes place with all the risks involved, so if you are lucky you can find the deal, but if you are not waiting you can receive the so-called "pack".

To limit the risk of scams, look for items for sale in your area so that you can pick up in person to verify the product. Try to get as much information about the seller as possible (address, telephone number, etc.) in order to have everything under control. If you need to make a remote purchase, use traceable payment methods such as transferotherwise it would be difficult to make a complaint. Avoid PostPay top-ups and services such as Moneygram.

If, on the other hand, you are also satisfied with used items, you can evaluate the convenience of the products offered for sale on Amazon Wharehouse Deads.

How to shop online in Europe

To compare the offers of the various online stores you can use the various price buying sites. For purchases in Spain the best points of reference are:

  • Find prices
  • idealo
  • Kelkoo

The latter two have the advantage of being also available in Germany, France and England.

Read also: European Guarantee and Spanish Guarantee: here are the differences

Buying in Europe could be a good choice, not only because the prices of some products are lower, but also because theVAT is lower. Do not forget, however, that within the European Union there is the free movement of goods. This means that you will not pay import duties and that the VAT paid will not be recharged in Spain.

As for shipments, remember to check the amount of the cost for shipping to Spain whereas this may in some cases be excessive.

Read also: How to buy on eBay without being scammed

Never forget to do a cross price check on too eBay e Amazon. The latter is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world.

In Europe, Amazon is available not only in Spain but also in Germany, France, Kingdom Unito e Spain. The different stores differ not only for the prices but also for i products available. European Amazon usually ship without customs duties also in Spain.

How to buy on Amazon without being scammed

To compare the offers between the various European Amazon stores you can use an add-on of Chrome e Firefox named Keepa.com  – Price Tracker.

How to keep an eye on the price of products on Amazon

To consider the most convenient offer, it is good to compare the prices on the various sites, writing brand and model, but it is also necessary to take into account the shipping costs. The Idealo site, for example, allows, after a search, to choose from the menu Order to and select Price to have a clear and precise idea of ​​the actual price of the product, including the shipping costs within each product.

Also, after selecting a list of possible sellers for the product you are interested in, do not forget to check the information regarding the site's payment methods. Be aware that many sites may withhold a percentage of the value of the merchandise if you choose to pay with PayPal. For this reason I recommend that you locate sites that allow you to pay with PayPal at no additional cost.

If you think the price is too high, you can ask Idealo to notify you when the product reaches the price you want. To do this you have to click on Price ideal present on the left. Enter the desired price, your email, accept the privacy policy and click on Attiva. Now you just have to wait.

How to shop online outside Europe

If you have the need to buy an American product online which, however, does not ship to our country, both because it is not yet marketed in Spain and because it has a price that is too low for Europe, you must also consider the fact that the savings could vanish with the addition of shipping costs, VAT, customs duties and fixed fee. There is also the warranty issue, of one year and not two, and the difficulties you would encounter if you need to return it to the sender for defects or non-compliance with the item you had chosen.

In case you want to buy a product not marketed in Spain, you can use the following services:

  • SpedizionidagliUsa.com
  • Myus.com
  • Usa2me.com
  • Viabox.com

These sites provide a US address where you can deliver the product purchased on US sites. When it is received, the service will package it and ship it to your home in Spain.

- Chinese stores, thanks to the bargain prices, they are an excellent alternative to the American ones. The best known are:

  • AliExpress
  • Banggood
  • GearBest
  • LightInTheBox
  • Myefox

The catalog of these Chinese online stores it is fully stocked with any technological gadget, but you can also find clothing, objects for the home and so on.

However, there are some aspects to consider, delivery times range from 20 to 40 days, and you may also receive a product without community certification and sometimes of poor quality. Finally, there may be customs fees to be incurred if the declared value exceeds 20 dollars.

Some stores, however, like GearBest, Banggood and Myefox have warehouses in Europe and allow you to buy without customs fees with delivery times of a few days. Furthermore all Chinese sites allow you to buy by paying via PayPal. The only one that does not accept PayPal is AliExpresspress, as it uses a property system called AliPay. This payment method allows you to pay only after the user has confirmed receipt of the goods. In this way you have plenty of time to open a dispute if the product is damaged or non-compliant.

Read also: The best Chinese sites for safe online shopping

When you buy a product on Chinese stores always remember to make a video the moment you open the product (framing the recipient's data well, the integrity of the package and the contents). You will be able to use the video dell’unboxing in the event of a dispute via PayPal or AliExpress.

How to dispute, ask for a refund and proceed with a return

When you receive a package from the courier always remember to sign using the formula "with riservant". Always do this, this way you will avoid problems with the seller if the product is damaged. At least if the package is not visibly damaged, compromise and sign with the formula "package intact: it is accepted subject to quality and quantity control".

ALSO READ: What to do when the package does not arrive with AliExpress

When you make an online purchase on the Internet, since it is a sale made at a distance, and away from business premises, the buyer can unilaterally choose to withdraw from the purchase contract within 14 days. The consumer is not obliged to provide any reasons, as it is his right to change his mind without having to pay any penalty, even if the product received is not damaged. Against the consumer must return the product to the seller at his own expense, who must reimburse the buyer within 30 days.

To proceed with a return of a product purchased on Amazon you need to log in to the site and go to the My orders section. Here you can view the history of all your orders and track the package if it has not yet been received and exercise the right of return within 30 days of receiving the item.

In the latter case, just click on Return and Replace items and specify the reason for the return and continue until the procedure is completed. Then print the label to be included in the package and send it as indicated. Amazon usually adopts the free return policy through its own courier that allows you to make the return for free without even paying shipping costs.

On the Returns Center page, you can view the status of your return at any time.

Now that you know everything you need to know about online shopping, you are ready to buy on the web.

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