Online Shopping Horror Stories ($250 AMEX Gift Card Giveaway!)

It seems only fitting with Halloween just a few days away to talk about online shopping “horror” stories. I’m sure many readers know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m sure everyone has had a case of “buyers remorse” from an online purchase from time to time.

I’m working with American Express on a Savvy Online Shopper program with the intention of helping to educate online shoppers on how they can stay smart online. The primary goal of this program is to educate people about making smart online shopping choices. I seriously wish that I had some smart online shopping tips that could have helped me to avoid wasting a lot of money on purchases that I really regretted.

Next week I’ll provide readers with some online shopping tips as well as my Top 5 Fall “Must Haves”. Look for that post next Wednesday (November 2, 2011).

Sadly I have had several online shopping “horror” stories over the years. I tend to do most of my shopping online. I’m not a fan of waiting on long lines to check out our going store-to-store at the mall. I like to get all my shopping done from the comfort of my home. Most especially holiday shopping too. Crowded malls stress me out.

One online purchase I made many years ago was off of Ebay. I was foolish because I didn’t read the seller’s feedback comments. There was a DVD I really wanted to have and I never gave any thought to how reputable the seller was. All I know is that I wanted the movie and he was selling it for an outrageously low price (that should have been a red flag!).

The movie was “A Walk to Remember“. That was the first movie my husband and I saw together, without the kids. It was the first time we left the kids with a baby sitter (Grandpa & Grandma). It was a huge step for us (even though I called home constantly to check up on the kids).

I thought it would be a romantic gesture to buy the VHS tape for my husband (pre-DVD days). Back then VHS movies were still on the pricey side (long before they ended up in the $1 bins).


When the movie arrived I was a bit surprsed that the cover wasn’t a regular VHS cover. It was a plain plastic case with no photos. The VHS tape it’s self had no writing on it. It looked like a tape that someone filmed their home movies on. I was a bit concerned but I figured it was too late at that point. I wanted to give it to my husband for our anniversary.

My husband was thrilled that I thought to give him that movie. That night after the kids went to bed we wanted to watch the movie and cuddle.

OH MY GOODNESS! It was then that I learned why the movie was so cheap. It was a bootleg copy and a really bad one at that! I was mortified!

My husband couldn’t stop laughing. Who ever filmed it did a horrible job. The camera was all over the place. At one point it was filming just the elbow of one of the on screen actors.

Lesson learned – always read the feedback! And like the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true – it is!”.

Another time I spent HUNDREDS on a home business program. It came with software, samples, business forms, and a box full of things to get you started. After I received the program I realized that there is no way an average person would ever profit a dime.

I never opened up the packages or the software. I just read the manual (which was not sealed). I realized the proram was a total waste of money, so I contacted the company to ask to return the program for a refund. They refused to do it because of the software. Even though I never opened it they said once the package it’s self (meaning the box everything came in) was opened nothing could be returned and there was no refunds. The only way I could have received a refund is if I took the box back to the post office with it’s original seal still in tact.

Ugh! I was out HUNDREDS of dollars.

As you can see, it’s not uncommon for people to make big mistakes or have horrible online shopping experiences. The trick is to be smart when shopping online so you don’t get suckered into SCAMS or purchases you’ll regret.

This is where you, my readers, come in. I need for you to share with me and American Express your biggest online shopping mistake.

To encourage you to participate American Express is letting me giveaway a $250 American Express (AMEX) gift card. Or the winner is welcome to choose $250 worth of products from the Membership Rewards website (www.MembershipRewards.com), or any combination of the two (merchandise and gift card totalling up to $250). Thank you American Express!

** Next week I’ll give you another option for an extra entry.         Stay tuned! **

To enter please share with me your biggest online shopping mistake. This is a mandatory entry that must be completed or the extra entries won’t count.

For extra entries you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each that you have done. Extra entries are optional. 

– Subscribe to She Scribes and/or Connect with Google Friend Connect. Both options are found on the right side bar. I my subscribers and followers.

– “Like” American Express on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/AmericanExpress.

– “Like” She Scribes on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/SheScribes. I to interact with my followers on Facebook. 🙂

– Follow American Express on Twitter, www.Twitter.com/AmericanExpress.

– Follow She Scribes on Twitter, www.Twitter.com/She_Scribes and tweet about this giveaway. Please include @She_Scribes in the tweet so I can see it too. This is limited to three tweets per day. I Twitter followers!

– Share this giveaway with others on Facebook, Digg, Technorati and so forth. Be sure to tell me what you did and please provide a name and/or URL so I can verify.

– Leave a thoughtful comment on a non-giveaway post on She Scribes and tell me which post you commented on. There is a limit of one comment per post, but you can comment on as many posts as you want for an unlimited extra entry option. I it when people show me some “comment love”. 🙂

– Post about this giveaway on your site and please link back to this post. Please provide the URL.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on November 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply with a name and mailing address (no PO Box), and phone number. Failure to do so will result in a new winner will be chosen in their place.

Look on the right side bar under “Win It” for more awesome giveaways.


*I was compensated for my participation in this program. All opinions expressed are my own. American Express will be providing the prize/gift card.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.


  1. Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says:

    I bought a16 set of dishes and meant to get 2 sets and I wish I would have found all those amazing blogging sites first- because I probably would have gotten a better deal

  2. Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says:

    already following via gfc as jeanagirl1

  3. Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says:

    I liked American Express on Facebook

  4. Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says:

    A.A.F. of She Scribes on Facebook

  5. I haven’t made too many horrible online shopping mistakes, because I try to be very cautious about such things. However, when I was a teenager I did make a few mistakes on ebay. I bought some jewelry which looked nice in the pictures, but ended up being really cheap and tacky looking, and an Xbox game that just plain didn’t work at all. Didn’t get refunds, so I was out probably $75 or so on those purchases. Live and learn!

  6. I subscribe via email

  7. I like you on facebook as Jay Dee.

  8. Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says:
  9. My biggest online shopping mistake was buying from an online catalog without reading all the details about the item. When it arrived, it was not what I expected at all (even the photos deceived me!) It cost me about $22 to buy and the catalog would not reimburse me for the cost to mail it back to them – $17!! It wasn’t worth it to send it back for just $5!

  10. Follow AmericanExpress on twitter @giveawaysetc

  11. I subscribe via google friend connect (Katie)

  12. I like American Express on Facebook (Katie W)

  13. I like She Scribes on Facebook (Katie W)

  14. I follow you on twitter @giveawaysetc, and I tweeted

  15. I like American Express on facebook as Jay Dee

  16. One of my biggest online shopping mistakes was on eBay. I found Disney’s Alice in Wonderland on DVD super cheap! (Like you said, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!) When it arrived, the cover looked fake… and written in Chinese! Turns out it was a bootleg copy from Taiwan! Everything is in Chinese, so it took me forever to figure out the menu to find the subtitles and language menu to switch it to English. But, hey – I can listen to the Mad Hatter sing “A Very Merry Unbirthday” in Mandarin or Cantonese! *Always make sure to take note where items are shipping from!!!! 😉

  17. The first vacation I ever booked by shopping online was such a MONDO disaster, that I switched back to a travel agent for many years, it took a long time before I trusted online travel sites again and tried booking a full trip online. Do your research VERY carefully my friends!

  18. I Connect with She Scribes Via Google Friend Connect.