Five Tips For Being A Smart Consumer

Soooo, I’ve been blogging for what, nine years? In that time, I’ve talked about and purchased from and reviewed hundreds of brands. In that same sense, I’ve also heard hundreds of complaints from pissed off people when they didn’t have the experience that they wanted with a brand. Most are warranted, but some I would think could have been prevented (and I am including myself in this) or it could have been approached differently. I want to be clear though – this is NO SHADE to any consumer or person, I myself am a consumer and have learned from my own missteps over the years, but I figured some tips would be helpful (I also added an “educated consumer” note to my BoB listing and my holy grail list).

  1. ALWAYS read the shipping and return policies before you order from a brand. They will explicitly tell you about long processing times, let you know that your product is not insured, or reveal that if your product arrives damaged, they will not replace it or refund you. Personally, I think these are kinda cruddy policies, but at the same time, I know that small brands cannot afford to constantly replace things and some people do lie. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to patronize these businesses – if something goes wrong with your order, you may not get the answer or support that you want. Also, you need to know what days they are actively operating – a lot of brands do not count weekends as business days for processing, so this will move out your delivery time.
  2. Read ingredients if you can! I know that folks do this less often with makeup than they do with hair products, but if I can, I read them all. I can’t even tell you how many times people come to me dissatisfied with product performance or they had a reaction, when I could tell that the product probably wasn’t going to work based on the ingredients. Ingredients will always trump marketing and brand claims.
  3. If you have an issue with your order AFTER it is shipped (like it wasn’t delivered when it was supposed to be or seems to be lost) call USPS (or the shipping company) FIRST. The brand isn’t going to know anything more than you do about the status of your order, and at this point, it simply isn’t their fault. I would also email/call the brand and let them know, and certainly request some type of resolution of the shipper cannot resolve the issue, but you need to contact the shipper first. It’s in their hands.
  4. Watermark or request credit if your pictures are shared by a brand. It doesn’t really matter if you’re not a blogger or influencer, I can’t stand it when brands take pictures from someone’s social media account and don’t credit them. Also, be careful with your hashtags – I recently read an article that revealed NYX has a privacy policy that states if you use their hashtag, technically the picture belongs to them and they can use it how they please. I know that a lot of people are flattered when brands share their pictures, but you still deserve credit, at the very least.
  5. If anything is wrong with your order, take pictures and email the company immediately. They have your tracking on hand and know when your order arrived. Unfortunately, it does look a little suspect if you received your order on a Tuesday but didn’t let them know until Saturday. In those four days or so, you could have dropped the product yourself (which isn’t the company’s fault) or something else could have happened. I know that you’re busy and may not have time to stop everything, take a pic, and send an email, but 10 minutes may be the difference between getting a replacement and not having your issue resolved.

What other tips do you have for online consumers?