The following is a guest post from Maggie:
Daily deal sites are amazing, both for the deep discounts and for the new products you can discover through them. But in our rush to take advantage of the wonderful offers, we can sometimes overlook some basic buyer safety practices.
The daily deal format unfortunately makes it easy pickings for fly-by-night scammers offering fraudulent products. Follow these tips to stay safe while scoring hot deals.
1. Use well-respected daily deal sites.
There are countless daily deal sites in operation, with more popping up every day. Stick to those site where you’ve had successful transactions in the past, know someone who has, or have received a recommendation from a blogger you know and trust.
It’s great to support new daily deal start-ups, but make sure they have some sort of track record for delivering on their promises. Check their Facebook wall for a quick gauge of customer satisfaction.
2. Research the company offering the deal.
Most daily deal scams will come from companies offering products through daily deal sites, pocketing the money, and then not delivering. So if you’re purchasing a product from company you’ve never used before, take a minute before purchasing to research the company.
How long has their Facebook page been active, and are there tons of complains on the wall? Do they have a Better Business Bureau profile, and are there any complaints?
Be wary of companies that appear to have just been formed. In five minutes or less, you can get a feel for whether this is a company with a history of good service.
3. Pay through Paypal or other buyer protection service.
Paying through Paypal or something similar gives you a certain measure of safety, should the company never deliver on its promises. Be aware though of the limitations of these payment services. Many require claims or complaints be filed within a certain timeframe, and some (including Paypal) will not refund your money themselves in case of a dispute — they will only attempt to reclaim it from the seller.
4. Make sure you are not charged until the goods ship.
As daily deal veterans know, many daily deal sites issue vouchers that do not include shipping. Thus, when you go to the seller website and actually purchase the product, you sometimes have to issue payment directly to the company to cover shipping charges. When this happens, keep a close eye on when you are actually charged the money.
It is illegal for a company to charge you prior to shipping your order. So if you see a shipping charge on your credit card bill or Paypal statement before you receive a shipment confirmation, it’s a red flag.
Following these simple tips will help you avoid the many different daily deal scams that are out there these days.
Maggie Larche is a daily deal lover and the author of a children’s detective novel that teaches economic concepts, Striker Jones: Elementary Economics for Elementary Detectives. More information on her book is available at her website.