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Smart Buying

3 Worst Things to Buy Online

You can get better deals on certain items when you purchase them offline.

Shopping online certainly has its advantages. You can easily compare prices without having to leave your home, and you can quickly search the Web for coupon codes to score bigger discounts. And, of course, your purchases can be delivered to your doorstep.

See Also: Worst Things to Order From Amazon

While convenience is a huge plus, sometimes it is smarter to make purchases in person rather than online. For starters, you can judge the quality of a product better. You also don’t have to worry about paying those pesky shipping fees. And for certain items, it can be much more effective to haggle over price face-to-face.

Here are three things that you probably shouldn’t buy online:

Groceries

Ordering groceries online can save you the hassle of a trip to the supermarket. But if you are picky about your purchases and want to ensure that you’re getting the choicest meats, fruits and vegetables, you should go to your local grocer and select everything yourself.

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Also, buying groceries online can be more expensive. For example, Peapod can charge $10 or more to delivery groceries from your local supermarket. And don’t count on Amazon to undercut the competition. Our research found that warehouse clubs and grocery chains beat Amazon’s prices on most food items.

Bicycles

If you’re in the market for a new bike, the Internet is a great place to do research. But when it comes time to buy, most cyclists will want to visit a bike store in person to test-ride a few models. In particular pay attention to size. To get the most out of a new bike that might cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, it should be tailored to your measurements.

Keep in mind too that it can be an inconvenience to get warranty repairs done on a bike ordered online. You’ll need to pack it up and ship it to the seller or manufacturer. With a locally purchased bike, you can simply take it over to the shop to get the work done.

Furniture

There are several reasons to think twice about ordering furniture online. Start with shipping. Many Web retailers levy a delivery surcharge on top of the standard shipping fee. Typically, the larger the item, the higher the surcharge. Brick-and-mortar stores usually just charge a single fee for delivery. And you’ll have a better shot at getting the delivery fee reduced or waived, not to mention getting a lower purchase price, by negotiating in-person with a furniture salesman.

In addition, the shopping experts we talked to said it’s difficult to judge furniture online. You need to see the colors in-person, touch the fabrics and sit on couches and chairs to determine quality and comfort.

Take a look at our complete list of the worst things to buy online.