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Consumer Reports: The best shopping websites

September 28, 2012 6:01:45 AM PDT
More people are shopping online than ever, 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.

Subscribers surveyed about their experiences shopping at the 52 largest retail websites found that 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," Consumer Reports Tony Giorgianni said.

Ticketmaster doesn't have a lot to cheer about either. It was at the bottom the 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, Giorgianni said. "It also should have great customer support."

Among the highest-rated sites were B&H Photo, Zappos, Costco, Nordstrom, LL Bean, New Egg (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," Giorgianni said. "You have a year to return something, and Zappos picks up the cost."

Another way to save on shipping is to shop at sites like Walmart, which doesn't charge if you have the item delivered to the store for pick up.

Shopping online can be really convenient, but getting a ton of spam is not. Consumer Reports says a good idea is to set up a separate E-mail address for all your online purchases.

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