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Amazon online shopping review

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See if shopping the online giant is worth it for you.

This online behemoth started out as a humble online bookstore founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994. Today, Amazon has grown into the largest online retailer in the world, offering millions of items, from vehicle tires to makeup to mattresses.

The company also now offers a paid membership service called Amazon Prime, which gives members access to services like Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Pantry.

Orders over $25

Free shipping

None available

Financing

Free

Returns

Amazon can be a great place to start if you’re searching for a broad range of items and want to make sure you get the best deal and free shipping. Take the time to look at product reviews before buying, though, to avoid quality disappointments.

If you’ve been thinking about trying Amazon Prime but aren’t sure you want to commit just yet, take advantage of its free trial offer.

Quick take

Pros

  • Free 2-day shipping with Prime membership
  • Huge selection of items across all categories
  • Verified customer reviews

Cons

  • Quality can vary by seller
  • Some online reviewers note issues with customer service

Amazon reviews and complaints

Overall, Amazon gets positive reviews online. Most customers are happy with its huge selection of products, competitive pricing and speedy delivery. While online scams can and do occasionally happen, there aren’t many complaints about fraud when ordering through Amazon. That said, it’s a good idea to check product reviews and only pay through Amazon.

Some customers have reported issues with Amazon’s customer service team, however, saying that it’s difficult to speak to a real person. Others say some issues regarding warranties and canceled orders were never resolved.

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What you can buy from Amazon

In a nutshell: nearly everything. Amazon now offers millions of products from sellers around the world, including clothing, home goods, groceries, furniture, mattresses, tech items, car parts and much more.

The company also offers a range of streaming services, including Amazon Music and Prime Video, as well as Kindle e-books. You can find deals on Amazon devices like Echo, Fire TV and Kindle here.

Amazon sizing

If you’re shopping for clothing or other sized items, click size chart in the item description to see which will be best for you. Since Amazon is a third-party marketplace, there’s no uniform sizing chart that applies to everything on the site.

Does Amazon have plus sizes?

Yes it does! Shop dozens of plus size brands at Amazon. Some of our favorites include Lark & Ro, Denim Crush, Daily Ritual, Arabella and Coastal Blue.

Does Amazon have maternity sizes?

Yes! Shop hundreds of maternity tops, bottoms, dresses, undergarments and swim suits from brands like Mother Bee Maternity, Liu & Qu and Daily Ritual. Pick up closet staples at budget-friendly prices by Amazon Essentials.

Does Amazon have men’s and women’s sizes?

You bet! Amazon carries clothing for men, women, kids, babies and nonbinary folks, too.

Can I get free shipping at Amazon?

Yes! Amazon Prime members get free two-day shipping on all Prime-eligible orders. Some items are even eligible for free next-day shipping with Prime membership.

If you don’t have Prime, free standard shipping is available on select items. You also might want to consider these alternatives to Amazon Prime.

Shipping costs and options

Shipping costs depend on the weight and sizes of the item(s) in your order, your location, your selected shipping speed and whether or not you have a Prime membership. Exact shipping rates and options are available to view at checkout before finalizing your purchase.

Amazon payments and financing

Pay for your order using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Diner’s Club or JCB. Note that payment options may vary by seller.

Does Amazon accept PayPal?

Nope, Amazon doesn’t directly accept PayPal. But you can use a PayPal Cash Card, the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard, or PayPal Key to fund your Amazon purchase.

Does Amazon have financing options?

Yes. If you want to buy something pricey from Amazon today but need more time to come up with the money, you have options:

  • Amazon Store Card. This secured credit card lets you pay what you owe over 6, 12 or 24 months. You won’t pay interest for the duration of the financing period. After you open the card, you’ll be able to choose between making equal monthly payments or a special financing option at checkout.
  • Klarna. Shop through the Klarna app to make a purchase at Amazon that you’ll pay for in four separate installments. You can even earn rewards on your Amazon purchase through its rewards program, called Vibe.
  • QuadPay. Split the cost of your Amazon order into four installments that you’ll pay over six weeks. Download the QuadPay app and search for Amazon to get started.

Amazon returns and exchanges

Most items fulfilled by Amazon can be returned within 30 days of purchase, as long as they’re new and unopened. But if the item shipped from a third-party seller, the return policy and options can vary. Before making a purchase, check the return policy.

Does Amazon have free returns?

All Amazon Prime orders are eligible for free returns. But if you make a purchase that’s not Prime, the cost of return varies depending on the seller.

Does Amazon do exchanges?

Yes. Most items fulfilled by Amazon can be exchanged for a replacement. If your order shipped from a third-party seller, contact them directly to inquire about their specific policy.

How do I return an item to Amazon?

  1. Go to the Amazon Returns Center and click Start a return.
  2. Sign into your Amazon account.
  3. Find the item you want to return and click Return or replace items. If you don’t see that option, the item is not eligible for a return.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your return and print your return shipping label.

Amazon discounts and sales

One of the best ways to save money at Amazon is by shopping for big ticket items during one of its yearly sales.

  • Prime Day. This two-day sale usually happens in July, though the specific dates vary each year. Past Prime Days have seen up to 68% off select Amazon devices, 55% off Lodge Cookware, up to $54% off Shark vacuums and hundreds of other great deals. The catch is that you need to be a Prime member to participate.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Amazon celebrates Black Friday and Cyber Monday with blowout deals on everything from tech to cookware and even pet food.

Of course, you can save money all year round by snagging a coupon code to use at checkout.

Insider tips for saving money at Amazon

If you’re looking to pinch a few more pennies when shopping with this retail giant, check out:

  • If you frequently shop on Amazon, consider applying for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature credit card to earn up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with a Prime membership.
  • Sign up for Subscribe and Save on items you buy regularly — you can save up to 15% off things like toothpaste and vitamins.
  • Join the free 30-day Prime trial to get free shipping and returns right away.
  • Click Today’s Deals to see limited-time offers that’ll expire within hours.
  • Use its trade-in service to send back your old electronics, video games and books. Amazon will give you a gift card to say thanks.

Does Amazon have a student discount?

Sort of — students can sign up for a free Amazon Student account that offers all the benefits of Prime. It only lasts six months, though, and when the trial is up the account converts into a discounted Prime membership that only costs $60 a year.

Does Amazon have a military discount?

No, Amazon doesn’t have a military discount. However, in the past it’s offered $40 off the yearly cost of a Prime membership to active military members and veterans, so it may be worth calling customer service to see if they’ll slash the rate if you are a past or present servicemember.

How can I contact customer support?

There are a few ways to get in touch with Amazon customer service:

  • Live chat online.
  • Schedule a phone call through its online help center.
  • Call 888-280-4331.

Amazon alternatives

Check out these similar online marketplaces if you’d rather branch out from Amazon.

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