December 25, 2009
Posted: 06:00 AM ET
There are so many web sites right now to buy deals on. And the Wall Street Journal just did a comparison of the big three general merchandise sites: amazon.com, walmart.com and ebay.com.
In their testing, the best overall experience for shoppers - not necessarily always the lowest price - was amazon.com. The second best was eBay. EBay’s pricing was cheaper, especially if you were willing to take used or reconditioned goods. And then way back, trailing the pack according to the Wall Street Journal, was walmart.com. The shopping experience was really a bust, according to the story.
But Wal-Mart is a company that you never count out. Because they just stay at something with real determination and eventually, if the Wall street Journal is right, a year from now they won't trail the pack by so much.
Now I buy stuff on eBay infrequently, but several times a year. And my key criteria for who I buy from is - especially with their new tougher system of rating sellers - I don't even consider someone who has an approval rating below 99%. In the eBay world of feedback, the only thing you can really go by is what your peers have said. And if you stay above 99%, the chance you're going to have a problem is really almost none
Now I had an experience recently where I ordered a charger for a new cell phone. And I thought I was ordering the right one. Including shipping it was $4, which is funny considering how much you'd pay in a cell phone store. And they come in the mail and I had gotten the wrong one. It was my fault.
Well, the seller has a policy that they want everybody to be happy and even if you made the mistake, they replace it for free with the right stuff. I just couldn't do it. I could not take advantage of the seller because it was my fault. So I just lost $4. I could not turn around and take advantage of somebody who had such a generous policy in how they treat customers.
But that shows you how high the stakes are right now in the world of making sure that people have a good buying experience online.
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Clark Howard helps you become a wise consumer. We know you're busy, and that's why Clark's tips are quick and effective. He'll arm you with the information you need to make smart choices. During these tough economic times, Clark wants to help you save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off!