Best Shopping Sites

Flowers make beautiful gifts. But ordering online can be pretty unpleasant, Consumer Reports discovered. It surveyed subscribers about their experiences shopping at the 52 largest retail websites. Online florists 1-800-Flowers and FTD rated near the bottom.

Tony Giorgianni with Consumer Reports says, "They had low marks for value, and there were lots of complaints about high shipping charges and customers having to wait longer than expected."

Ticketmaster doesn't have a lot to cheer about either. It was at the bottom of Consumer Reports' ratings and got the lowest marks of all for customer support.

One told us, "It takes so long, and you're entering all this information over and over again."

Another said, "I don't like how expensive they are."

Tony points out, "A good online retailer should offer great value, have good products and services, and deliver them on time. It also should have great customer support."

Among the highest-rated sites - B&H Photo; Zappos; Costco; Nordstrom; L.L.Bean; NewEgg, for electronics; and REI, which carries outdoor gear and clothing.

REI stands out with its guarantee that shoppers can return or replace items any time at the store or online. There's no expiration date.

Tony adds,"Zappos also has a good return policy. You have a year to return something, and Zappos picks up the cost."

Another way to save on shipping - shop at sites like Walmart, which doesn't charge if you have the item delivered to the store for pick up.

Shopping online can be really convenient, but getting a ton of spam is not. Consumer Reports says a good idea is to set up a separate e-mail address for all your online purchases.


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