5 Things You Should NOT Buy Online

Just about anything you need to live, you can buy online. Food and water, clothes, homes, furniture, cars. Even a wife! That doesn’t mean you want to buy everything online. Some items, like gourmet cookies, are always going to cost more online.

Shopping online today is as easy as pulling out your smartphone, jumping over to Amazon, snatch a book, a couple of clicks, and within two days, the book is in your hands.

Although you can usually find some things cheaper online, there are things you’re still better off heading out to a physical store to buy yourself.

1. Groceries

Shopping online for groceries sounds convenient. No grocery cart pushing and no checkout lines to stand in. And you can have your groceries delivered to your doorstep. Sounds great!

However, if you want to make sure you’re getting the best meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy items, head to your local grocer and pick out everything yourself. After all, can you be certain the employee who fills your online order will select the jug of milk all the way in the back with the longest expiration date? Not likely.

Buying groceries online can be more expensive than buying them yourself from a local store. Delivery charges can be $10 or more. Don’t expect Amazon.com to offer lower grocery prices than your local stores. Warehouse clubs and supermarkets beat Amazon’s prices on most food items. Walmart easily beat Amazon’s prices on paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper.

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Local supermarkets operate with a small profit margin. This makes it hard for online grocers to compete. Use coupons and play the price-matching game, and you’ll almost always find the best deals in person.

2. Furniture

Some brick-and-mortar furniture stores charge a delivery fee. Many online furniture retailers charge a standard shipping fee plus a delivery surcharge. Usually, the larger or bulkier the item, the higher the surcharge.

For instance, the surcharge on a Pottery Barn wooden bed bought online is $150; on a dining room table, $100. These charges can add up, making buying furniture online an expensive proposal. In person, a furniture salesman might be willing to cut the price or toss in free delivery to make the sale.

Another reason to buy furniture in a store is to see in-person what you’re buying. You can put your hands on it, sit on it, and confirm color, quality, and comfort. If you order online and aren’t pleased with the item when it shows up at your doorstep, you could find yourself being hit with return shipping fees and a restocking fee.

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If a return isn’t arranged within a specified time after delivery, a restocking can be 25% or more of the original sales price. What seems to be an amazing deal may not be so great after you add shipping to the equation. Sometimes deep-discount sites charge low prices but sneak in outrageous shipping fees, hoping you won’t notice as you click through the sale.

3. Last-minute gifts or presents

Those shoppers caught out by the snow last Christmas can swear to this – never, ever buy last-minute presents online. The gifts will arrive late, and you’ll look like a scrooge for not ordering sooner.

Imagine having to tell someone you care about that you’re empty-handed on their birthday because you couldn’t be bothered to order their present enough in advance to ensure it arrives on time. Could you face them?

Everyone knows it’s often cheaper and less effort to buy stuff online. No gift can be pretty embarrassing in this situation.

When it’s down to the wire and with little time left for that online gift order to arrive, most of us get desperate.  While we’re waiting for our deliveries we end up rushing to the shops to buy a replacement gift.

And that’s where it starts to get expensive. Buy the same present, probably at a higher price, and you’ll have to return the one you bought online and pay shipping costs. Or, instead, we hope it arrives on time but have something ‘extra’ just in case.

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Either way, we end up forking out more than we would have if we hadn’t tried to buy it online in the first place!

If your down to the last-minute – even if the website promises next day delivery – don’t take the risk. Head to the mall or shops and get it home safe and sound!

4. Cheap or low-priced designer goods

When you buy designer brands, you pay for better quality and the brand name. Coach, a well-known name in purses, cost $250 or more for the better models.

If you find a Coach purse for under $100 (which is cheap) you should be suspicious. It may very well be a fake or knock-off. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. BUYER BEWARE!

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The same goes for high-end clothes. It’s no good knowing how to spot a fake in the flesh when you’re buying online. The biggest clue is the price.

There’s no shortage of counterfeit and knockoff designer goods on the Internet. Counterfeit items actually reproduce the designer’s labels and symbols. Knockoffs don’t.

It’s illegal everywhere to produce counterfeit designer goods.  Although it’s perfectly legal in most places to buy them. Buying designer goods online isn’t a good idea unless it’s from the manufacturer’s website.

Many knockoffs are sold on unsecured sites. Run away from these sites. The goods will be suspect. Also, who knows what these people will do with your credit card information. And forget about being able to contact them if there’s a problem with the goods you bought.

If you do go through with the purchase, the item you receive could be of pretty poor quality. If you are determined to buy knockoffs and counterfeits, you should at least handle and inspect them before you buy.

5. Pets

When buying certain items from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you’re only getting a snapshot of their reality. Many times there may be a dent or piece missing from a product. With living, breathing creatures, the problems could be much worse.

While you might be expecting the latest cross-breed dog, like a Golden Husky, delivered to your door based on the pictures and breeder’s word, the reality is you could easily wind up with a mutt who never stops barking and will chomp on any hand that comes close.

Consider Shelters

There really is no significant reason to spend a lot of money on a brand new pet when plenty of animals are looking for homes. Some may disagree. That’s okay. I’ve rescued many pets over the years. What they all have in common is; they’re looking for a regular place to sleep, safety, steady meals, and love.

Several animal shelters in my area regularly have free or small fee adoption days. You can get dogs and cats, as well as other pets that may be available. Check with your local shelter to see if they do the same.

Unless you’re planning to show your pet, spending hundreds or even thousands on a purebred animal is probably not money well-spent. The $50 puppy from the shelter is just as likely as the $500 puppy from a breeder to overwhelm you with wet kisses and gaze at you with unconditional admiration.

A growing trend among commercial puppy breeders is to cut out the pet shop—the middleman—and use online retailing to get their puppies directly into your homes. These puppies, bred in facilities commonly known as puppy mills, may be housed in cramped, filthy conditions without sufficient veterinary care, food, water or socialization. Purchasing a puppy online typically supports this cruel industry.

Buyers trying to find dogs from responsible breeders or breed rescue groups may find themselves blasted with elaborate websites offering the offspring of “champions” with a host of fancy terms and pictures of adorable pups.

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Don’t be fooled. Internet puppy scammers attract potential buyers with cute photos and deceiving promises. Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online. The puppy you receive may not be the puppy you agreed to buy, or you may not receive a puppy at all.

Internet scams range from fake “free to good home” ads where the buyer is asked to pay for shipping, only to never see that puppy they tried to help, to breeders posing as sanctuaries or rescues, but charging upwards of $1,000 in “adoption” fees.

The best way to avoid being scammed is to adopt, not shop!