I think everyone has made an online shopping mistake at least once in their lives. You've scoured the internet to find the absolute best deal on something you've wanted to buy for months. You saved up enough money and made the mouse click to make the purchase.
A few days later, the item arrives and it doesn't resemble what you thought you were buying. Sadly, this exact situation happened to my wife when we were planning our wedding.
The Laughable Wedding Dress
Okay, we all know guys don't do much wedding planning, but we worked together on a tight budget. Our goal was to spend less than $5,000 on everything involved (except the honeymoon) from start to finish, including the wedding dress.
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Due to our budget restrictions, my wife decided to start shopping for the perfect dress online.
After a few weeks of searching, she had finally settled on a dress and placed her order. She had to send in measurements so they could custom fit the dress. We thought everything would turn out great.
We did set some money aside to get some alterations done, just in case, but we figured we had successfully saved a good deal of money by buying her wedding dress online.
If only we'd known how wrong we would be.
A couple of weeks later, the dress arrived… from China. My wife tried on the dress, being very careful I didn't see it. She tried to put on a happy face, but I could tell there was something wrong.
About a week later, she finally told me the dress was a nightmare. She showed me the pictures of the dress that were advertised online and the actual dress she received. It was clear the two were nothing alike.
We Tried to Return the Dress
I looked into the website where my wife had ordered the dress, but despite our best efforts, we couldn't get anyone at the company to address our problem.
Someone did reply to our email, but it was clear that no one understood the issue, partially because the reply was in very broken English. We continued to try to work out the problem, but the vendor stopped responding.
At this point, we figured the money we spent was a lost cause. Luckily, a savvy friend saved the day. Our friend inquired whether we had made the purchase on a credit card. We had.
They suggested that we call the credit card company and see if they could do anything to make the situation right. We figured it was a long shot, but we gave them a call anyway.
The Credit Card Saves the Day
The credit card company listened to our story, and decided that we should file a fraud claim against the vendor.
They said that since we had already tried to work it out with the vendor – something you should always do first – they would send us the paperwork, and then they immediately credited our account. They only asked that we send our receipt, pictures of the dress, images of the dress from the website, and a signed fraud claim form which had to be notarized.
We sent in the requested information and never heard from either the credit card company or the dress company again. We were incredibly happy to have the money back immediately, so that we could use it to buy a new dress on our already tight wedding budget.
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Know Your Credit Card Benefits
After this experience, I took a closer look at the benefits offered by our credit cards. I found out that most credit cards offer a wide range of benefits that seem virtually unknown. Some credit cards will automatically extend a manufacturer's warranty.
Other common benefits include price protection (in case the price drops after you made a purchase), roadside assistance, rental car insurance, damage protection, and theft protection. It's crazy what credit cards offer!
Every credit card has different benefits and different terms for those benefits, but you can call the number on the back of your card and ask them to send you information about any benefits your card may have.
Who knows – it could save you hundreds of dollars, just like it saved us.