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Our 7 biggest shopping annoyances – and how to stop them

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Shopping smarter can save you money as well.

Australians love to shop online.

New Finder research shows we spend an average of 4 hours browsing online stores each week, and spend $208 a week on average. I really hope a lot of that is groceries!

Shopping online is convenient and makes it easy to compare, so you can potentially save a lot of money.

But that doesn't come without some pitfalls.

We surveyed 1,096 consumers and asked for their biggest peeves when shopping online.

These are the top 7 and the percentage of Australians that identified them as an issue. Spoiler alert: Australia Post is a big offender, it seems.

High shipping costs50%
Long delivery wait times33%
Package going back to post office even though I'm at home25%
Hidden fees23%
The delivery person not following delivery instructions16%
Retailer not offering my preferred payment method8%
The price being displayed on a gift7%

Fortunately, a lot of these problems are avoidable. Let's look at how to try and get around each of these common nuisances.

Exorbitant shipping costs

I can totally relate to this one. I recently decided not to buy an ABBA luggage tag because the shipping cost was a truly ludicrous $37.

What's the fix? Shop around if you can - the same product can ship for wildly different prices. If the goods are coming from overseas, getting it sent to a helpful friend or relation and then asking them to post it can work out cheaper. For regular haunts, subscription options such as Amazon Prime can help with savings.

Long wait times

Delivery times are weird these days. I often get parcels from London faster than from Adelaide.

What's the fix? Again, shopping around might find you a faster option. Look carefully at the charges for "express" delivery - often it's twice as much but only a day faster.

The disappearing postie

The hidden lesson of the pandemic was that far more people learned that postal workers often just don't want to deliver your parcel to you. The dreaded card (or its successor, the dreaded app notification) is all too common.

What's the fix? Get the delivery sent to a post office locker (you can register online to get a personalised address that will send to a locker.). OK, you'll still have to go and collect it, but at least you can choose the time and you're not just stuck with office hours.

Hidden fees frenzy

Quite aside from expensive delivery, some retailers will also add a processing or service charge that doesn't show up until late in the checkout process. If that fee is always charged, then potentially consumer law is being violated, but that doesn't stop it happening.

What's the fix? Make sure you check the quoted total carefully before clicking "buy". Again, shopping around may help.

Recalcitrant delivery people

The words "DO NOT BEND" on a totally bent parcel really drive me nuts. So do people leaving goods next to the bins outside my building.

What's the fix? This is a tough one. When it happens repeatedly, I start looking for other stores, or resort to the parcel locker option again.

Can't use the right payment method

Prefer Afterpay but it's not there? Want to use PayPal but it's not an option? That's annoying, but realistically it is going to happen sometimes.

What's the fix? If the payment method really matters, shop around and find a store that offers it.

The price being displayed on a gift

I must admit, I haven't encountered this one so much with online sellers, few of whom apply pricing to their goods. But it's not a good look - especially if you've specified an item is a gift and paid extra for wrapping.

What's the fix? If I'd paid for gift wrapping with an order, I'd definitely be complaining and asking for a refund.

Get more helpful money tips to help you save.

Image: @motortion via Canva.com

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