Consumer Reports: Best shopping sites

September 26, 2012

Flowers make beautiful gifts, but ordering online can be unpleasant, Consumer Reports discovered. It surveyed subscribers about their experiences shopping at the 52 largest retail websites. Online florists 1-800-Flowers and FTD rated near the bottom.

"They had low marks for value, and there were lots of complaints about high shipping charges and customers having to wait longer than expected," said Consumer Reports' Tony Giorgianni.

Ticketmaster didn't have a lot to cheer about either. It was at the bottom of Consumer Reports' ratings and got the lowest marks of all for customer support.

The consumers that Giorgianni spoke with said the Ticketmaster website took too long and was too expensive.

"A good online retailer should offer great value, have good products and services, and deliver them on time. It also should have great customer support," said Giorgianni.

The highest-rated sites include B&H Photo, Zappos, Costco, Nordstrom, L.L.Bean and NewEgg for electronics.

"Zappos also has a good return policy. You have a year to return something, and Zappos picks up the cost," said Giorgianni.

REI, which carries outdoor gear and clothing, also received a high rating. REI stands out with its guarantee that shoppers can return or replace items any time at the store or online. There is no expiration date.

To save on shipping, Giorgianni suggests shopping at sites like Walmart, which provide the option of having the item delivered to the store for pick up.

And while shopping online can be convenient, getting a lot of spam e-mail is not. Consumer Reports suggests creating a separate e-mail address for online purchases.

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