Really Heavy Things
Even when an online retailer wins out on price, the cost to ship it to your home might erase the price advantage, which is especially true of heavy items such as televisions.
“You’ll see sites that have a good price, but they’re trying to get it to the East Coast from Arizona, and a lot of the time ... it might be better to go to Best Buy,” Wisnefski says.
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That’s not always the case, of course. Some sites offer free shipping if you meet a minimum purchase threshhold, and some big retailers will sell an item on their Web site and ship it for free to your local store for pickup.
Where you want to be careful, Wisnefski says, is when dealing with smaller online retailers you haven’t heard of.
“Some of these smaller retailers entice you with price and then make their margins on shipping costs,” he says, pointing to more obscure retailers who rise to the top of the Google Shopping tool with a low base price and an exorbitant shipping fee. If you do a search on Google for a model of TV and a retailer you’ve never heard of has the lowest base price, take a really close look at what it’s charging for shipping. Chances are the final price is going to be higher than more established retailers, online or otherwise.