[ewell type=”small”] [icon icon=”exclamation-circle” size=”large” color=”#57005b”] This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Online Shopping in Canada [icon icon=”external-link”] series, to show you how to buy almost anything you want online! If you live in Canada and would love to shop more in your underwear, definitely check it out! [/ewell]
Before you begin any kind of online shopping, there are important precautions to take. This is especially true for Canadians as shopping options can be limited and high in costs if not enough research is done! Here are some general important information to note before you begin shopping.
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Online Shopping Tips & Warnings for Canadians
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-tags” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Coupons & Discounts:
Before you make a purchase on any site, make sure you have done a thorough search for any coupon codes or special offers you can use on the site. Click here for a list of recommended coupons & discounts sites. You can also try stacking discount codes if there are more than one available, most sites don’t allow it, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
[eicon type=”fa fa-undo” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Rebates:
Join a rebates site & shop through it as much as possible to earn cash back! They’re free to join & they’ll send you the cheques so you don’t have to do any work! Win-win. My favourite online rebates site is Ebates, you can find many online retailers on their site, sign up now!
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-envelope” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Email Sign-Ups:
Sometimes the best deals & discount codes are found directly in your inbox if you sign up to the email newsletters from your favourite retailers.
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-save” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Refunds:
If you’re unsure of an item you’re buying, check to see if the online retailer accepts returns. Some retailers offer in-store refunds which is good if the store’s brick-and-mortar locations are near you. Be wary of fees associated to return shipping if you cannot return in stores.
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-retweet” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Price Match & Adjustments:
If you see an item you want to buy that’s cheap on a site, but you rather buy from another site (maybe they currently have great site-wide discount codes) you can try contacting the retailer for a price-match. You can also request for a price adjustment if you have already purchased, or if prices drop from the same site. Even if some sites do not explicitly advertise these services, you can always contact them to try asking anyway.
[eicon type=”fa fa-plane” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Customs/Duties:
If you are buying from an international site, always find out how customs/duties are calculated before you make your purchase. I tend to avoid sites that don’t pre-calculate duty fees for you as you won’t know how much it is until your package arrives. I’ve been charged ridiculous fees before, more than my actual order! If taxes aren’t pre-calculated, use these handy online calculators to estimate your duty taxes & fees.
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-flag” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Domestic vs International:
Although it’s normally more convenient to buy from stores that ship from Canada to Canada, sometimes you have to do a little calculation. You should add up all the costs (item price, shipping fee, duties) for any store before you make a purchase. Sometimes shipping fees may be higher for a US store, but the lower item price might ultimately make it the better choice.
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-usd” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Hidden Fees:
For every online retailer, make sure you read up on their shipping information before your purchase. Some stores charge extra fees based on package weight, higher priced orders, multiple orders, or select shipping locations.
[eicon type=”fa fa-line-chart” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Tracking:
If a store offers tracking for your package, then use it! Most online stores will email you a tracking code & the shipping company associated with it. Just enter your code on the shipping site to see where your package is & approximately how much longer it’ll take to arrive.
[eicon type=”fa fa-search” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Search Options:
Make shopping less tedious by utilizing your search tools. Refine your searches based on price ranges, categories, sizes & dimensions, brands, colours, etc. and choose the right “view” when scrolling through pages. If you’re searching for the cheapest finds, select the “Low-High Price” view. For the best value finds, select “Highest-Lowest Discount” view. For newly discounted items, selected “Newest Arrivals” in the sale section.
[eicon type=”fa fa-cc-visa” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Payment Methods:
The most popular payment method retailers accept is Visa, but most accept Visa, MasterCard, & American Express. Many stores also accept PayPal & Interac/Debit. If you’re worried about security, try to use PayPal. (Side Note: PayPal also offers shopping deals from time to time for their users, so win-win to sign up!)
[eicon type=”fa fa-comments” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Buy/Sell Caution:
If you’re buying from unofficial retailers or individuals selling their homemade/used items, always take extra precaution. Check that the item is good quality, contact the seller to ask questions, and request for more photos if you’d like. For sites with seller reviews, try to buy from sellers that have not only a high rating, but a large number of reviews as well.
[eicon type=”fa fa-bus” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] US Stores with High Shipping Fees / No Canada Shipping:
If you’re close to the US border, and there some US sites you love but have expensive or no shipping options for Canada, you can sign up for pick-up mail services near the US border and drive down to pick up your parcels. I currently don’t use this type of service since I rarely drive and this defeats my purpose of “convenient home shopping”, but if you’re interested, do a Google search as there are quite a few options out there!
[eicon type=”fa fa-tasks” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Compare Your Stores:
Use shopping comparison sites to save you time & money when searching for the best steals for things you want to buy.
[eicon type=”glyphicon glyphicon-fire” color=”#340035″ fontsize=”22″] Online Shopping Hacks & Resources:
Now that you’re educated young grasshopper, you can click here for some awesome tools to help save you time & money when shopping online! Be sure to also check out the rest of the Online Shopping in Canada series to learn where, what, and how to buy anything you want online in Canada.[/box]