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How to Buy Online

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1. Compare prices.
Use Cnet.com’s “Compare Prices” search to see multiple store prices on tech products. For everything else, Google’s Froogle.com generates the most results. It’s not infallible, so check Amazon for specialized products from small retailers. Yahoo Shopping’s “Compare Product” function matches specs.

2. Take consumer reviews with a pinch of salt.
A happy customer tells ten friends; an unhappy one tells 25. And who knows how savvy the reviewer is?

3. Click through.
When manufacturers don’t want to advertise the lowest price, Websites like J&R and Best Buy hide the real sale price until you put the item in your shopping cart.

4. Read the fine print.
Online retailers often skimp on service. E-Cost, for example, has amazing bargains but charges a 15 percent restocking fee on returns.

5. Let Websites do the work.
Consumerist.com lists Web deals daily, and Shopzilla.com has a special-offers menu. Avoid coupon sites; they require subscriptions or force-feed ads to you.


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