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Zappos, REI top Consumer Reports list of best shopping websites

September 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
More people than ever are shopping online. But which sites are the best? Consumer Reports surveyed more than 28,000 of its subscribers to find out.

Flowers make beautiful gifts. But ordering online can be pretty unpleasant, Consumer Reports discovered. It surveyed subscribers about their experiences shopping at the 52 largest retail websites. Online florists 1-800-FLOWERS.com 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 Associate Finance Editor Tony Giorgianni.

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

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

Among the highest rated sites: B&H Photo; Zappos; Costco; Nordstrom; L.L.Bean; Newegg for electronics; and REI, which carries outdoor gear and clothing.

REI stands out with its guarantee that shoppers can return or replace items any time at the store or online. And there's no expiration date.

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

Another way to save on shipping is to shop at sites like Wal-Mart, which doesn't charge if you have the item delivered to the store for pickup.

Shopping online can be really convenient, but getting a ton of spam is not. It's a good idea to set up a separate e-mail address for all your online purchases and let that one collect the spam.

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