There’s an emerging trend in the retail industry that presents both an opportunity and a risk for bargain shoppers.
A few weeks ago, Clark noticed that some websites started offering a lower price to customers who refuse the right to return the merchandise for free.
Read more: Finding the best prices online
Use this online shopping tip to save money
Why would retailers do this? Those free returns are costing them a fortune!
Let’s take a look at an example from Jet.com, the website that Walmart is buying for more than $3 billion to take on Amazon. Here we have a pair of shoes that sell for $79.99.
As you can see from the screen capture, you’ll pay $75.99 — $4 less – if you give up the right to return them for free. Jet.com says you can still make a return, but it’ll cost you $5.99 plus 5% of the item’s price.
You can also pay a lower price by using a debit card instead of a credit card, but Clark doesn’t recommend debit because it offers fewer consumer protections — and online shopping is a popular target for criminals.
Read more: 9 places you should never use a debit card
Still, the $4 savings for giving up free returns may be worthwhile. Clark says he’s a decisive shopper, so he will most often take the discount. But if there’s a chance you’ll return the item, don’t take the bait.
The same can be said for “final sale” merchandise, which usually has no returns or exchanges.
Speaking of those “final sale” deals, the Wall Street Journal reports those items may not really be at their lowest price. Check for store-wide discounts that could offer additional savings.