me profits only, grant me the joy of profit made, and see to it
that I enjoy cheating the buyer"
-Ovid 43 B.C.
ancient Roman poet Ovid may have celebrated unscrupulous business
practices, but most consumers do not. Follow the tips below to
help you get the most out of your shopping dollars.
an advertising critic. Advertisers may use "puffing"
to sell a product - a practice that legally allows a certain amount
of exaggeration. Therefore, an advertisement for face cream may
claim to give your skin a youthful radiance, but it can't promise
to shed 20 years from your appearance overnight, unless it actually
can (highly doubtful).
rationally. Compare the prices at multiple places before making
a major purchase and avoid impulse buying. Question your need
and desire for each item. Avoid shopping when you are hungry,
tired, depressed, rushed, or distracted.
on-guard when online. Only buy from secure Internet sites (particularly
Review return, refund, and shipping and handling policies. As
with any delivered item, request that the shipper receive a signature
before leaving a package on your doorstep, or have it delivered
to your office.
the warranty. Some are verbal (usually worthless, unfortunately),
some implied (that your refrigerator will indeed keep food cold),
and some are written. Federal law does not require written warranties,
but most come with major purchases. Understand it and save it
in a safe place. "Extended warrantees" are actually
service contracts that you have to pay for (warrantees are free).
To determine if you really need one, weigh the cost of the service
contract against projected maintenance and repair bills.
about a purchase? Check with the Better Business Bureau for past
complaints against a seller or manufacturer before you buy. Happy