You Shouldn’t Buy This If…

Living on the budget is not all about just counting pennies. To save money, you need do your homework and to know how to do research on each of your planned big purchases.  Here’s a quick but useful guide on how to investigate if both the seller and the item should be considered.

Here are some ways to check the seller’s reputation and past records as well as product reviews.


Researching the seller’s reputation is a must especially if you are buying online.  There are so many scammers today who will be happy to take your money and never send you the product or deliver a poor quality.  Doing a quick research won’t take you too much time, here are just a few essential steps:

So, you shouldn’t buy this product if…

There is negative feedback (run a quick Google search):

[the seller's name] or [the seller's domain name] or [the product name] are some good choices to start from.  Be sure to check at least 5 pages of the search results.  Besides, try using Google’s advanced search to view most recent mentions (found behind “Show options” link in Google).  Why is it so important? Nowadays every Internet marketer knows how to manage his online reputation and make sure there are only positive reviews of him on the first page for his brand name search – so checking the top results only is most often not enough:

Google search

Many people are not satisfied (search social media):

Social networks are the places where you are sure to find people discuss anything and everything.  The good thing is that you are most likely to find them telling the truth.  The best place to start with is Twitter, and Twitter Search.  If you look at its advanced search options, you are sure to be impressed.  Consider adding :( sign to your search query to find Tweets with negative feedback or describing dissatisfied experience.

Twitter advanced search

There are a lot of negative reviews (find the product reviews):

Here’s a good list of shopping aggregators that also offer product reviews.  There are reviews provided by shoppers and experts as well video reviews.  Again, be sure to check at least a couple of the sites as user reviews can be manipulated as effectively as Google search.  Here is another good article on how to compare product prices and reviews.

Product reviews


Experienced people do not advise to (check online shopping communities):

There are a lot of friendly communities of shoppers who will be happy to share their experience on any seller you are considering.  One of my favorite ones is Buxr.com for a couple of reasons:

  • It allows user comments, reviews and ratings;
  • It lists shopping deals for each seller, so it’s like all useful information in one place;
  • It is moderated, so no spam or manipulation;
  • Its users are friendly and you can get lots of useful advice via the site forums.

Buxr

The seller was involved in bad tactics (check specialized forums):

There are a few useful places where you can check if the seller has ever been involved in scam. Scam.com is an awesome forum to consider.  It is very active and has a huge database of scammers in a number of categories (Internet scams, political scams, etc being a couple of them).

Scam.com

Do you do (online) research before buying something big? Please share your tips!

[Editor's Note - I love to check  Amazon for reviews.  I can also get a good idea of what the price should be]

The guest post is by Ann Smarty, Search Marketer and blogger.

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Published or updated March 28, 2013.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the tips! I always do some research, but usually this only involves a quick check at Amazon’s feedbacks. You’ve given me new ideas to try next time!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..We don’t need no education =-.

  2. Miranda says:

    Quality is very important to my husband and I. We are willing to pay a little bit more for a product that is of higher quality and will last longer and serve us better. In our minds, it’s about total value, and not just whether the item is “cheap”. We’ve found we get more mileage out of better products, saving us money over the long haul.
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Saving vs. Investing =-.

    • I’ve discovered the same thing the hard way many times. I by the cheap item only to have to replace it later on. Still it depends on the item and what kind of value you need from it.

  3. Doing research on the front-end can sure save you grief and money on the backend of a purchase. These are excellent tips on how to dig a little deeper. When making certain purchases, I also try to check out Consumer Reports via my local library.
    .-= Jeff@MySuperChargedLife´s last blog ..How To Deal With In-Laws: Guest Post at Telling It Like It Is! =-.

    • Consumer Reports is a great source as well and the library is a great way to find it! I’ve found even a little research can help from getting a bad product.

  4. Be careful though, one or two bad reviews on the internet does not mean the vendor is bad. You can find a customer willing to talk about a bad experience with just about any business; and some of them know how to use the internet. But the mere existence of any amount of negative feedback in a quick Google search doesn’t prove anything. You need to see multiple instances. And even then, a stranger’s story on the internet is helpful, yes, but is no substitute for your own judgement.

    On top of that, anyone who’s ever worked in a store (or for that matter, been wrongfully dumped) knows that the people who yell loudest often can’t see their own fault in the matter.

    In short, should you flee from a vendor with a couple of bad reviews online? No, you shouldn’t. Proceed with caution, but take anything you read on the internet, ESPECIALLY customer reviews, with a grain of salt.

    • So true. I like to find balanced reviews that have pros and cons. I don’t trust when every review is great, I actually want to see a few negative reviews to balance things out. Still I try to understand where a reviewer is coming from. I’ve found reviewers who give negative reviews for items when they have no business reviewing them (for example when someone says a point and shoot camera is no good because it can’t compare to their DSLR, it’s apples and oranges).

  5. This is a great post. Thanks!
    .-= AJ´s last blog ..Most important things right now =-.

  6. Great list. Thanks for the resource. I often wonder about reviews because it seems like people are more likely to review a product if they have had a bad experience.
    With so many companies on line it is always a good idea to check out their reputation before doing business.
    .-= Craig Ford´s last blog ..Buying Second Hand: Ten Items to be Cautious About =-.

    • While it’s true that people with bad experiences are likely to file a review the same is sometimes true of people who had great experiences. I think you have to look at many of the reviews for a product and find a middle ground.

  7. Online research for me almost always starts and stops with Amazon.com. I’ve shopped there for so long and buy so much there I have a very high level of trust and the ability to weed out the fake ratings.

    I also subscribe to Consumer Reports and Cook’s Illustrated online, which have excellent databases for research. Cook’s is just for cooking related things of course. Consumer Reports is a must-have for me. I avoid just about anything that isn’t recommended by them.
    .-= Eden´s last blog ..5 Frugal Golf Tips to Make the Game Affordable Again =-.

  8. Great tips! I always check places like Amazon.com and Yelp.com (for local stores) for reviews on the actual product and merchant before purchasing. I never heard of http://www.buxr.com/ before this post and will definitely check it out.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..Dont forget your pets: Natural Pet Care Products =-.

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