It was from a merchant in China. There were some good reviews and the item was cheap so I decided to get it. I needed it anyway so it was either I get the item cheap from China or get it 60% more expensive from Singapore. SGD100 vs SGD160.
When I received the item, there were some issues. I emailed the seller and the seller was ok for an exchange. I sent the package back to China via Singpost. It takes some time for the package to reach the recipient cos apparently China is big and mail has to go through multiple distribution points. Anyway, the seller acknowledged that he had received the package and would be arranging a replacement. After a few days, he even gave me a tracking number. When I checked the mail company, the tracking did not exist and I contacted the seller again on whether the package had been sent. Seller asked me to wait for a few days for the tracking to be updated. Few days later, tracking number still not valid. So contacted the seller again. Seller said he will just refund me the money... !!!!!!
I was like what the hell. 1 and a half months later and I didn't get the item and now I have to wait for a refund. Anyway... I contacted Qoo10 and they handled the refund and even refunded back the postage which I incurred for sending the package back to China.
So in my mind I was like, seriously, for $60 savings I had to go through almost 2 months of nonsense and I still did not get my item? This isn't worth it and I was in half a mind to stop buying stuff from online merchants. Cos seriously, it does get troublesome at times. Especially those merchants which are small companies. They're cheaper but can be troublesome.
That really got me thinking. Is the price differential really worth it?
So I thought about it logically.
Online purchases are known to be cheaper. Duhz...
Why is it cheaper?
That's cos consumers absorb some risk. The cheaper price HAS a cost. It's not cheaper for nothing.
It's cheaper cos you may not get the item you want, it may be damaged when you receive it, the seller may be a fraud, etc. There IS REAL risk when buying stuff online. So the cheaper pricing isn't free.
So I think back at all my other online purchases. Some did well, some did not, I've learnt some lessons, won some, lost some. But in general, I saved more money buying my stuff online.
Not to mention, I did not "lose" anything in my recent transaction. I just wasted some time and still did not get the item I wanted.
So I looked at online transactions very much like investing. You can't win them all. You win some, you lose some. But all in all, after diversification, the end result is usually a better position than by not investing at all. ie, if you buy an index tracker, in the long run, some companies do well, others don't do well but in total, it's still better than keeping cash.
Similarly, for online purchases, I have good experiences, I had troublesome experiences, but after averaging it out, I still save more than if I had purchased my stuff via retail outlets. Even after taking into account the headaches which I had to go through along the way.
So yep, I'll still be buying stuff online, Qoo10, Lazada, etc. The savings are still a great reason for me to buy stuff online. Of course I'd be buying stuff which I really need and not some frivolous items just for the sake of it.
Anyway... as for the item which I tried to buy, I ended up buying it from retail at SGD160.
It was an item that someone asked me to buy and would reimburse me the cost. I suggested that I could get it cheaper so I offered to help order the item from Qoo10 at SGD100. After 2 months, I had nothing to deliver, so I just got the item from retail and just claimed SGD160.
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