- 1 Really important things to note
- 2 Resources
- 3 Stores
- 4 Bringing things from the United States into Canada
- 5 Safely receiving packages from strangers
- 6 Wrapping gifts
- 7 Old notes
Really important things to note ∞
If you have problems with an item, always begin the contact or dispute resolution process immediately.
- Drop everything, spoil your day, and spend five minutes to log into the store and begin the resolution process. You don't want the seller to drag their feet. Time zones suck. If you wait too long to act, then you may end up sending a message after their business day ends. You may save a day by communicating promptly. This is even more important when you have a time limit for resolving issues. They may drag their feet to try to get away with ripping you off.
- Digital items (e.g. downloads) may not be refundable, no matter what you do or what you think people promised.
Beware of buying storage media online.
- Things can be faked, and can be particularly low-quality with poor speeds or a short lifespan.
Pay through PayPal
- Though it may take some time, they have an excellent dispute resolution process if you have any problems.
- Contacting a seller through PayPal gives you leverage over the seller. Problems logged and unresolved through PayPal will tarnish the seller's reputation with PayPal. This leverage can often be used to your advantage, helping keep online retailers "on the straight and narrow".
- Be aware that you may be required to return an item to the sender. If that would be a big cost to you, then don't buy the thing this way!
- Don't forget that your credit card is another line of defence against bad retailers. Reversing charges is possible, but be careful not to tarnish your reputation with your card company!
Products have several layers of warranty.
- The store's basic problem/refund policy.
- The store's extended warranty, if you bought that.
- The manufacturer's warranty. Always check that this exists. I personally buy things based on the length of time of the extended warranty because it's a strong sign of the quality of the item.
- Your credit card's extended warranty. Some credit cards offer an additional time period in addition to the manufacturer's warranty. Sometimes they say things like "double the warranty, to a maximum of one additional year".
Don't you dare try to con a store with a false refund, your payment processors or credit card company and online stores are not idiots.
- Be prepared to back up any claims you make.
- Always keep your receipts, especially for items with a long warranty.
- If you rely on something, consider buying a spare.
If you really rely on something, consider buying a spare spare.
- The last thing you want to happen is to have your spare die on you during the warranty/replacement process.
Shipping takes time.
- China is very far away.
- Free shipping is slow shipping.
Other advice ∞
- Read more than one review (from different sources) before you make your decision.
- Only trust reviews from sites which have a good number of reviews.
- Do not rely on reviews which give vague ratings without written justification. This includes sites which just give a "top 100" or "5 star" rating.
- Just because something is heavily downloaded or purchased and therefore considered popular doesn't mean that it is any good (for you).
- Study screenshots wherever possible. Give good consideration to reviews which contain screenshots and detailed explanations.
- Give good consideration to specialized sites which have a broad variety of content and also include reviews. For example, weigh a game review from a games news/reviews/discussion site more heavily than from a broad reviews site (like this one).
- Not all reviews are good. Not all reviews are bad. If a site has just one type of review, take it into consideration as many of these sites are well made, but please... read other sources.
- Do NOT trust a review from the author. These are a joke. In fact, if you are so inclined.. go so far as to completely avoid the original site for information about the product. If it is a popular product, you will find information about it from all other angles. There is, however, a point at which you must turn to the manufacturer or main outlet for the final word on points of contention in the different reviews.
- Always consider the competition for a product before making a final decision. You not only have multiple reviews of the one interesting product to read, but all other related products.
Pay special interest to reviews which pit one product against another. These often highlight pros and cons for each. Beware of "apples and oranges" comparisons though. There are a number of sites which will compare one thing with something which is in a similar, but not similar enough, category.. e.g. mp3 players - why would there be product reviews comparing an mp3 CD player to a solid-state player?
Ratings and reviews ∞
Coupons and deals ∞
Used and recommended.
- $10USD shipping
- My go-to for "doodads".
- Free worldwide shipping.
- Simple, old-fashioned and classic items.
- I consider these guys in the category of "buy it for life".
- I consider this a last resort.
- Beware of buying things from strangers.
- Online stores may be much more respected.
- If you have a dispute, consider contacting the seller through eBay first.
- Hudson's Bay
- The Source
- Craigslist is hit-and-miss, as you're dealing with .. (shudder) people.
- (Reddit) Buy It For Life (BIFL) > belts
- $10 shipping
- New Balance has consistent models of shoes so you can always find a replacement pair that will fit the same as your old pair. They do not, however, maintain the same actual style, which sucks.
Other, untested ∞
- Free shipping over $63
- electronics/embedded/robotics, free shipping over $50
- The Centre for Alternative Technology Eco Store
- Free shipping, method unknown.
- HobbyLink Japan
- .. even sells items which aren't sold or shipped outside of Japan.
- Scientifics Direct
Bringing things from the United States into Canada ∞
See also Package forwarding
- Border wait times
Safely receiving packages from strangers ∞
Wrapping gifts ∞
Old notes ∞
Joss Whedon has mentioned that more Serenity comics are planned for the near future, and will be based in the Firefly continuation of the series.
- Likewise, Whedon and other former BtVS writers will release a new ongoing Buffy series that would take place after "Chosen" and be considered the canonical "Season 8". The first 6-issue volume is due out in March 2007, though it debuted at Comic-Con International. Both projects will be published by Dark Horse Comics.