How to Make Sure You Get Your Money Back on Returned Online Purchases

how to make sure you get your money back on returned online purchasesMy own system needs a little work, so today I’m asking a question for advice as much as discussion: how do you make sure you’re getting your money back on returned online purchases? Have you found any good apps or systems?

If you’re like me, odds are you do a lot of online shopping these days, and part of the appeal is easy returns by mail. But keeping track of whether I’ve actually gotten the refund or credit is becoming more and more difficult. For example, sometimes when I’m returning items bought online  I have absolutely no idea how much I’m going to be getting back — for example, I remember returning stuff to Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy once where I had purchased the items using their “super cash” and possibly had gotten an additional “buy $X and get 40% off” tiered deal — so I had no idea how returning some items from the order would affect the equation.  Other times, the store tells you clearly how much to expect back when you print out your return slips — but then returns trickle in on your credit card in smaller amounts, at different times.

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Returning Items Bought Online

Returning Items Bought OnlineI sometimes like to ask myself, what are my core competencies? What am I really good at — an expert in? Ladies, you’re in luck: I am an expert at returning items bought online. (I’m maybe a bit of a shopping bulimic, and while I’m not proud of this, it’s just kind of where I am in my life right now.) I have my own little system for how I return items bought online, and I’m curious to hear: Ladies, do you have any other systems or hacks for returning items bought online? Another question here: What’s your understanding of the etiquette of returning stuff? Let’s bypass the question of whether I’m being a jerk by buying a lot of stuff and then returning it — I feel like return policies were created to address this question, after all — but I do try to make things as easy as possible on the person handling the return at the other end.

So here’s my system for returning stuff online (starting from the moment you’ve decided what’s staying and going).

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Online Shopping Apps for Busy Women: Save Money, Get Deals, Keep Track of What You Want

Online Shopping Apps2017 Update: We’ve updated links below!

We’ve talked about some of my favorite online shopping tools before, but not in a while — and a lot of the older ones have gone belly up, so let’s discuss the best of today’s online shopping apps. Ladies, what are your favorite tools these days? These are the ones I use:

  • Covvet: This takes the place of the dearly departed Shopping NotesPoachIt, and Hukkster. The idea is simple: If you see a product you like, you click a bookmarklet on your desktop and tell the program what price you’d like to pay — then they’ll notify you if/when it goes on sale. I use this a LOT, and really like it — my only regret is that it doesn’t work on my iPad.
  • Amazon Wishlist. A year or two ago, Amazon changed their wishlist so that it now can track products on ANY site. If they can match it on Amazon they’ll let you know; otherwise they link your list to the third party site. I have zillion gift idea lists in here; it also helps me keep track of all the makeup I want to try/investigate in person.

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Internet Shopping and Tea Leaves

internet shopping tipsAs an avid Internet shopper, I thought I’d share some of my top tips for deal-hunting with you.  There are a number of clues that an Internet shopper can use to detect how the garment fits, how it looks, and so forth. I have my own theories, collected from years as a shopping civilian, as well as nearly three years of blogging about online shopping. So I thought it would be fun to start a discussion — what indicators do you look for when you’re shopping? (Pictured: Shopping cart school, originally uploaded to Flickr by kevindean.)

Good Signs

  • Lots of colors. When I find a shoe or a sweater that comes in lots of colors (4+), I generally think of that as a great sign that the manufacturer thought they had a hit on their hands when they made that item. It’s also a great sign that the store buyer wanted to stock all of those colors.
  • Best-seller status. Particularly where this product has been around for years and years, I take that as a sign that the product is a great bet — the shoe is comfortable, the dress is flattering, etc.
  • Numerous seasons. Some products come back, season after season — and you may even be able to tell that when the same product appears in two different listings on the website.  (For example, when I was looking back at the Frenchi cardigan in December, it was listed numerous times on the Nordstrom site — one in spring colors, and one (on sale) in darker fall colors.)
  • Limited sizes. When only limited sizes are left, it’s usually a sign that the item sold well because the customers loved it — and kept it.  If there are only “higher” sizes left (12, 14, 16) you can “read” that as meaning the item maybe ran slightly big; if there are only “lower” sizes left (0, 2, 4) you can generally read that as meaning the item ran slightly small so everyone had to get a bigger size.  If there are random sizes left (say, 0, 6, 10) that can mean a number of things — it could mean that the sizing was weird, or just that there truly are “lucky sizes” left, as I like to say.

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