Tips for buying expensive items online

During the last 5/15 sale, I ordered a laptop from an official store on an online shopping platform. It was discounted by a few thousand from the SRP of P45,999. I promptly paid for it because I needed the laptop the soonest possible time. My current laptop is an 8-year old Acer and although it still works perfectly, it’s hard-starting and it gives me so much stress every time I turn it on. It takes me so long to successfully get it going. For my new laptop, I opted for the Acer Nitro 5.

Acer Nitro 5I normally receive my orders in 2-3 days so I was expecting the laptop to be delivered in that time frame. According to the shipment tracker, I should receive my order by May 19. On May 18, I received a phone call. On the other end was a guy who did not introduce himself but just asked if I had ordered a laptop and if I had already received it. I thought it was the delivery guy so I said yes I ordered a laptop but no I haven’t received it yet. I asked why. He answered “Wala naman.”. That was that.

After the call ended I got a bad feeling. Somehow, I knew I wasn’t going to be receiving the laptop. My hubby said that whoever it is must’ve been making sure that whatever was in my package was worth stealing — because it could’ve been just a monitor or something. But I had confirmed that I ordered a laptop. Sure enough come May 19, no laptop was delivered to me. I followed up with the seller and the shopping platform. They said it had already been shipped out. My order tracking mysteriously stopped at May 18. Over a week later, it still indicated May 18 parcel received at the hub. Eventually I filed for a refund and my order was declared lost in transit. After I got my refund, I purchased from a physical distributor and picked up the laptop myself.

Anyhow, this isn’t the first time I’ve ordered an expensive item online. I bought a Dyson AirWrap from an online shopping platform last year and received it problem-free. I’m still willing to buy online even after this experience, but I do have some takeaways:

  1. Always order from a reputable seller. I ordered from the official store and they were pretty responsive.
  2. Make sure the shopping platform is also reputable, has legitimate customer support channels, and a good refund policy in case of non-receipt.
  3. Check reviews of previous customers who have bought the same item.
  4. Do not give out information about your order to just anyone. Couriers and delivery people are not supposed to confirm what you ordered. They just need to bring it to you.
  5. If anyone calls regarding your order, ask for proper identification. If they claim to be a representative of the seller or shopping platform, tell them that you will be the one to contact the seller or shopping platform to check what the concern is.
  6. Some prefer to do COD transactions so they don’t put out any money before receiving the item.
  7. Opt for the fastest shipping method if given a choice — same day or next day is best. This results in less time for detours and delays.
  8. Document all interactions between you, the seller, the shopping platform, and the courier.
  9. Track your shipment and keep tabs on it until you get it. If it doesn’t arrive by the promised date, follow up ASAP. If you order and forget about it, you might be surprised to find that your order had already been “received” and there’s no more window for you to contest it or file for a refund.

I was fortunate that I promptly got a refund, but I started following up and contacting the seller and customer support the day after the promised date. It pays to be diligent.

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  • Reply Angie June 7, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Ohmygod. I’ve always been scared ordering high value items online 🙁
    This is very helpful! Thank you.
    Hope such thing won’t happen again.

  • Reply Chumchum June 7, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Absolutely amazing, thanks for sharing

  • Reply Kath June 7, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    I also just bought a laptop online. It’s my first time to order an expensive item online so I was really tensed with the transaction. I’m giving the same tips with yours above, check feedback from other customers + track your parcel very diligently. I reviewed a lot of customer feedback from the seller (even though it is the official shop of the brand). I saw lots of positive feedback. Fortunately, there were no issues with my delivery. I got it within 2 days of paying online. Good thing you were able to get a refund! It would have been so stressful.

  • Reply Jess June 8, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    It looks like you need to change your old laptop’s hard drive to SSD. I also have an old Acer laptop. 7 years old already. When I switched to SSD, it became much faster including the booting.

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei June 9, 2021 at 11:44 am

      My old laptop has an SSD Drive. It’s not slow at all, just hard-starting.

  • Reply SJ Valdez June 13, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    OMG, Miss Ro! Natakot ako after reading this. I ordered a Yamaha drum set for my son via one of the top shopping platforms in PH. I checked the seller, maganda naman ang feedback, pero siyempre it depends pa rin sa courier. Expected date of delivery from June 14-17, 2021. I immediately tracked my parcel, nandito na raw sa Manila hub ng courier. I-law of attraction ko na ma-deliver na bukas. Natakot ako! Haha.

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