Handy Hints

How to get what you pay for when buying online



If you fail to take a few minutes to read over the small print you might just be surprised what you are actually buying.

With the holidays fast approaching and many people scrambling to buy their Christmas gifts many people buy online, especially if they can score a great deal.

We often talk about how we like to sometimes buy online vs. in-store whether from Kijiji or picking up the odd items on Ebay or Amazon but with that comes caution when spending our money.

Buying online items is not something new and it’s well secure for the most part but what happens when the buyer is the person who is trying to scam you out of money even though it’s plain to see you are getting what you pay for.

I was reading a Yahoo post the other day about a 19-year-old guy from the UK of all places who was hoping to get his hands on the new X-Box One that was recently released.

He also has a 4-year-old child whom he stopped at nothing to make sure he was able to get the X-Box One for but he was duped at the same time, but was he really?

He ordered what he thought was the actual  X-Box One from a seller on EBAY and paid a whopping $750 only to receive a photo of the new X-Box One rather than the actual unit.

So, yes he paid $750 for a photo of an X-box One and although the matter has since been cleared up and his money has been ordered to be returned by EBAY it really made me think and many others about how easily they can lose their hard-earned money if they are not careful.

Here’s the kicker though, the seller did not forget to mention that what the potential customer would be buying is a photo. The young buyer even though he read that it was a photo never gave much thought to that until he actually received the photo instead of the game system. Sometimes what we do is fail to read the fine print or any print when investing our money in making purchases whether online or in-store.

The good thing about buying in-store is that you can easily return an item that you don’t want or maybe purchased the wrong one as opposed to having to ship an item back through the post. You also get the opportunity to physically hold the item in your hands.

Many readers who left a comment had lots to say to this 19-year-old boy about failing to read the fine print but many that supported the fact that the seller was in fact scamming him.

It was clear the seller set out to see who would actually send him the money for the photo with-out reading all of the information that was in plain sight. The product was not misrepresented it was simply a case of let’s see how many idiots are out there. Clearly he was more interested in getting his hands on a product than to read what he was actually buying.

If I am going to be dishing out that much money you can bet I’ll be reading everything I need to know about what I’m getting. I’d certainly be emailing the seller to ask questions about the product to make sure I’m getting what I pay for.

As you can see below many of the fans were more concerned that he had a young daughter rather than trying to motivate and help him so he doesn’t make that mistake again.

For one thing, when I wish to deal with a new (too Me) seller, after reading the full product description, I P.M. the seller and ask Him to tell Me exactly what I will be getting before I make a purchase. If this person lies and sends something else, the proof is in the site’s mail server, and PayPal can use it to get a refund. -Markleaman50

Next issue, not overpaying for something you can get a bit later. Unless it’s something rare that won’t be made for long I won’t line up or pay ridiculous amounts.-cute

It happens and not online only. I paid $CA 1,400 for a laptop including settings, software and everything. I told to come the next day to pick-up my purchase. however, something inside me told me just open the box and see if there are no scratches on the screen. So they open it for me and guess what? Empty box, only a heap of newspapers and old magazines. I am lucky to get my money back simply because it is a real store “BestBuy” and not a virtual one The lesson is that Check it before you kick it, no matter where does it come from or whom it goes to.- Hassan


Tips to help you get what you pay for and safely


  • Make sure you are on a secure site… normally there will be a symbol of sorts to alert you that it’s secure such as a padlock with a secure statement or https:/ in the url
  • Read the fine print including model numbers and anything relevant to the product
  • Research the product on various websites to price match and see what others are selling for.
  • Ask questions to the seller about the product you are purchasing to confirm all pertinent information.
  • Read the positive and negative feedback which gives weight to the selling reputation.
  • If the going rate for a product is $200 but you’ve just found it for $50, is it the real McCoy?
  • Use a credit card with a low available credit and some form of fraud protection just to be safe.
  • If you receive an email for a great deal don’t use the link in the email go direct to a website unless it’s a trusted website that you receive emails from such as a clothing store etc. just to make sure you aren’t being sent somewhere unsecure or fraudulent.
  • Use a good anti-virus on your computer to keep it safe and check to make sure it is running frequently.


How we limit our exposure to fraud


The amount of stories I’ve heard over the years that involved e-mail fraud where an e-mail is sent to someone stating that they have won the “Euro lottery” and they should e-mail back their details to claim the prize.

These types of e-mails and phishing schemes are not only fraudulent but plain dangerous. Once you’ve given up your personal details, they’ll ask for your banking details to deposit your winnings. Unfortunately you’re going to be as far away from that $100,000 winning feeling as you can possibly get.

Now that these unscrupulous individuals have all of your details, your bank account will be suddenly devoid of any cash you had in said account. What’s even stranger is the fact that your details will start to buy all manner of items over the internet and be shipped to some weird and wonderful place you’ve probably never heard of.

Identity theft has been on the rise over the last few years and it’s not surprising to see why and another good reason to make sure you check your free credit report every year.

Displaying important information online or even discarding it in the garbage can give some people enough of an edge to gain access into your life. We destroy old bills and wage slips, you can choose how you destroy yours, burn or shred.

There is an internet only credit card in our household, the limit is $400. That way, if information gets plucked from the air waves while buying something, at least we can afford a loss of $400. Don’t use that Gold or Platinum level card, you’re just asking for trouble.

I’ve probably said it before but I’ll say it again, “If it’s too good to be true it probably is”. If you’re unsure about the validity of an e-mail or phone call, don’t just give out information, call your friends, wife or husband and ask their opinion. Advice is free, so take it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly ok to go online and shop, just be careful where you go and what you buy. You can use secure payment sites such as PayPal to buy items. That way if something does go awry your credit card number isn’t on the front line.

Try to limit the amount your prepared to pay for something over the internet. If your prepared to potentially lose $1000 by all means go ahead. Personally, I have a small limit, mainly because I’m just not prepared to pay more than $500 for something online without touching and feeling it first.

Have you ever bought something online only to not get what you paid for?

Have you been or know someone who has been a victim of an online fraud scheme?


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  1. I heard that story about the photo guy. I guess that is what you get for not reading. I don’t really understand why people are paying so much more just to get it for Christmas. Just buy it later and you will pay regular price.

    1. Some people as we know need to have stuff.. now and that’s why many people do go into debt because they are persistent in having it all instead of waiting.

  2. Internet scams have been around as long as the internet. I am very picky about who I order online from. It’s a small list. I really prefer to handle the item I’m buying before hand. I will order printer ink for the printer online from Staples. Books from Chapters, occasionally from Amazon…..that pretty much covers it. I never click the spot where they site keeps your credit card info for future purchases. It’s not that big a deal to type it in every time and it’s safer.
    Back when we first got the internet we used to get a popup claiming to be from e-bay saying we needed to verify some information on our e-bay account……..the give away this was a scam was the small fact we didn’t have an e-bay account………But there is a sucker born every minute. I read a book from the library a while back on the internet and the scamming that goes on. It was very interesting but scary at the same time. I think the title was Dark Market…..
    My sister-in-law loves kijiji and has gotten some nice deals but I refuse to go there. She sold our trailer a couple of years ago for us there. She knows how to use the site and we don’t so we were fine with her doing this for us. After that man near Hamilton was killed trying to sell a vehicle online I think I’ll pass on selling something online.
    I thinks it’s sad that people will try any way they can to rip someone off. The internet just gives them another way to do it.

  3. I read about the poster guy too, that was a big thing. Sometimes in description they don’t say the item doesn’t work but they ticked “out of order” so you can order a faulty item if you don’t pay attention. I try to deal with people who allow returns.

  4. It’s terrible how people are constantly ripping people off during the holiday season. I’ve seen my fair share of scams already this season and we are only in the first few weeks of the Christmas season.

  5. I read about this, but was not aware that the seller actually said that it was just going to be a picture. I feel for the guy and glad he got his money back, but you better believe I’d be reading the fine print when spending that kind of money. 🙂 I’ve not been scammed online in the past and do all I can to make sure I know what it is I’m actually buying.

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