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Columns Discoveries Updates Ideas FAQ Tools Books PR Communication Circle


Frequently Asked Questions

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What Do I Need?

What Stores?

Where Do I Find a Store?

How Do I Find a Product?

Why Register?

How do I get Help?

How Do I Order?

When will I get my Package?

What about Returns?

Where Can I Go to Solve Problems?

How Can I Get Help with the Site Itself?

Where is helpful information hidden on the site?
Can I send email to the people at the store?


Where is helpful information hidden on the site?

Hidden is right, on some sites. They hate to tell you how much shipping is going to be until you have filled out the whole order form. Then they surprise you with those charges. Similarly, unfriendly sites assume you know how to order online, how to find products, how to get customer support if you have a problem. So they just don’t tell you. To get answers from these sites, you have to be psychic.

Even good sites vary in the way they give you information about using the site. Look for any of the following buttons to take you to instructions:

• FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

• Help

• How to Order

• Customer Service

• Customer Support

• Order Information

• Shipping

Also, scrounge around the About Us or Contact Us to find out what number to call to talk to a live human being. Best hours to call are outside of business hours.

Can I send email to the people at the store?

Most sites include an email address somewhere, like at the bottom of every page or inside the Contact Us area.

The best sites offer specific email addresses for different issues, such as billing, cancellations, international questions, order status, product questions, returns, and Webmaster. You just click a button, and your browser calls up your email software, ready to send a message to the right address.

Remember that many sites get more than a thousand emails a day. You are not alone. The person reading your message does not know your order number, your preferences, your suffering.

So put every key detail into the email, so the staff person at the other end can look up your order and find out what went wrong.

At a minimum, put in

• Your full name

• Your full address

• Your order number

• The products you tried to purchase

• The date on which you ordered,

• Any confirmation number that they came back with.

Do not put your credit card number into the email, because email is not as secure as the computer on which you originally placed your order.


--Excerpted from our book The Best of Online Shopping, Ballantine Books.

To buy our book at a discount, please visit's electronic bookstore.  We are proud to be an Associate.


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