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Frequently Asked Questions

 swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)Why?

Why Shop Online?

Can I save time shopping online?
Well,what does take time when I shop online?
Can I save money when I shop on the Web?
Can I find neat stuff online?
Can I learn enough about the product I want to buy?
Can I avoid human contact?
Is some stuff free?
Can I just research products online, and then go to a local store?
How private is the information I provide to an online store?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  What Do I Need?

What Do I Need to Shop Online?

Do I have to have a particular computer or Web browser?
What problems will I face shopping online with my old browser or old computer?
Do I have to use a credit card?
What about digital cash?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  What Stores?

What Kind of Stores Are on the Web?

Is there only one kind of Web store?
What makes online stores possible?
What are the signs that an online store is reliable?
What makes an online store easy to use?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  Where?

Where Can I Find a Good Store?

When I ask my search engine for sites that deal with a particular type of product, I get thousands of hits and most are junk.  What to do?
How do I find more stores?
Is there a Better Business Bureau online?
Where can I find the store with the lowest prices for my particular product?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  How Do I Find a Product?

How Do I Find a Product in the Online Shop?

Why are some brands available at a store, but not others?
Why doesn't this store offer a paper catalog?
Why does the store offer all these lists of product categories, anyway?
What lies behind the store's search mechanism?
How can I search for a product if I don't know a brand name?
So what kind of searches do stores offer?
I got too many results.  How can I narrow down my search?
I got no results from my search, but I am sure they have this product.  How can I have better luck locating it?
What if I completely fail to discover the product using the search?
Once I find a product at a store, how much will I be able to learn about the product?
How can the store offer these discounts?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  Why Register?

Why Does the Store Want Me to Register and Log In?

Is registration, or membership, primarily a convenience for the store, or for me?
If I register or become a member, will I be deluged with junk mail?
Why does the store want to know about my tastes, interests, age, and marital status?
Why do I have to create a user name and password?
Why are they sending me cookies?
What if I forget my user name or password?
Can I change my account information?
What is this log-in stuff?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  How do I get Help?

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?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  How Do I Order?

How Do I Order and Pay?

Are there different ways to pay?
What exactly does the Buy button commit me to?
What is this shopping cart thing?
What is checkout?
What is this express checkout or 1-Click purchase?
Why do I need a billing address?
How safe is my credit card information with an online store?
What exactly is encryption?
Which credit cards do stores take?
What does this mean, submit?
How long after I submit my order is it acted upon?
Why do I have to verify some information after ordering?
Why was my credit card refused?
How do I get a record my order?
What if I don't get a confirmation of my order?
How do I cancel an order with an online store?
Is there any limit to the hours when I can order from an online store?
Is there a problem ordering from outside the U.S.?
What if the product is not in stock?
When is my credit card charged for the order?
Do I have to pay sales tax?
How do I take advantage of a manufacturer's coupon or rebate?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  When will I get my Package?

How Fast Will I Get Delivery?

How fast will the store get around to shipping my product?
How reliable are the company's promises about when they will get the product out the door?
What shipping options do I have?
Why won't they ship to a post office box?
On a military base, what kind of shipping can I get?
How much does shipping cost?
How do I check on my order, while I'm waiting for it to arrive?
Do I have to sign for the package?
What should I do the moment I receive my package?
Does the product have a warranty?
What is guaranteed by the online store, if anything?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  What about Returns?

What About Returning a Product?

How can I return a product?
How can I discover a store's policy on returns?
What's the usual method of returning a product to an online store?
Why was my return rejected?
When do I get the credit?


swissknif.gif (1009 bytes)  Where Can I Go to Solve Problems?

Where Can I Find Out More About Problems I May Face as an Online Consumer?

Does the federal government have any information about online shopping?
Are there any non-profit organizations offering consumer advice on the Web?
What can I do to avoid scams and fraud online?
What can I do if I am the victim of fraud?


--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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The Best of Online Shopping: : Columns/Discoveries/Updates/Ideas/FAQ/Tools/Books/PR

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Copyright 1999 Jonathan and Lisa Price, The Communication Circle
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