Smart Bargains: The Prices Looked Good But The Quality Was Crummy.
Mar 25, 2005 (Updated Mar 25, 2005)
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I needed new towels and remembered seeing them at SmartBargains.com for a really cheap price. After looking in some local stores and not finding the color I wanted, I decided to swing by Smart Bargains and take a look at their offerings. Since they wanted less than $5 per towel and had the color I wanted, I decided to try the site and make a purchase.
Since this is a liquidation site, they carry a variety of merchandise including home goods, purses, clothes, toys and other odds and ends for discount prices. They create urgency by sometimes listing how many items they have left or threatening that an item is about to sell out. It seems that the quality of the items varies since they carry odds and ends rather than a standard line of merchandise.
Because they carry a variety of merchandise from various manufacturers, it was hard for me to know what to expect with my towels. The towel set included two bath towels, two hand towels and four wash cloths for $19.99. The web site claimed that each set retailed for over $60. The price was great but I didn't know what to expect for quality.
When my towels arrived, I was extremely disappointed. The towels were very thin and very small. The washclothes had paper tags on them. There was no way to remove the paper tags without ripping out the seams of the washclothes. So, the towels were pretty much damaged upon arrival. I would say the $20 price tag was even expensive for what I got and the idea that the towels would have cost $60 was a joke.
I ended up keeping my towels because they matched my shower curtain and it was hard to find the color I needed. However, they are so thin and small, I don't plan to use them. They will mostly be decorative in my bathroom.
Shopping on this web site was easy and it was simple to find what I was looking for using the menu on the left hand side of the screen. The pictures of the items were pretty good but the descriptions were lacking. There were no consumer reviews of items and now I know why.
The ordering process was more complex than necessary. I had to input my name and shipping information. I also had to choose a password which is annoying because I never remember my passwords. Also, the screen where I entered my password was also the same screen I entered my credit card information. On my first try, my password wasn't long enough. So, I tried a new one and pushed enter. Then, for some reason the expiration date on my credit card was wrong. I changed that and pushed enter. Then, my password was missing because the site had reset it. I chose a new password and pushed enter. Then, the expiration date on my credit card was wrong again because the site kept resetting it back to the current date. I took a deep breath, cleared the screen and carefully reentered all of the information requested. Finally, I was able to finish my order.
I got an email when I placed my order and an email when my order shipped.
SHIPPING AND PACKAGING
Shipping rates on this site are high, especially considering it is a discount site. There is a flat fee of $6.95 for ground shipping. They promise that packages will arrive in 7-10 days with ground shipping. You can pay more to get your item faster.
I got my items 5 days after placing my order which is faster than they promised but, in my opinion, a little slow considering the high cost of shipping compared to other sites.
My towels were very well packed. They came in a plastic bag inside a sturdy cardboard box that could have been reused for a return. The site also included a return shipping label with my receipt. Oddly though, they used those little air-filled pillows some packing companies use for cushioning. Since I ordered unbreakable towels, the extra packaging was silly.
STEALS AND DEALS
They offer a lunch time special. If you check during the lunch hour, they offer one item at a significant discount.
They participate in Ebates and I saved 3% by shopping through the ebates site.
You can sign up for emails to get notifications of sales and bargains. After I placed my order, I got an email offering me 10% off my next order.
RETURNS (this information is directly from the site)
"At SmartBargains.com we stand behind our products 100%. So, if you are not pleased with your purchase for any reason, simply ship it back to us within 30 days of receipt for a full refund of your purchase price (this does not include your original shipping and handling fees). Please note, some items have specific return directions."
I didn't make a return so I can't comment on the process.
I didn't really care for my experience on this site. The towels were inexpensive but the quality was so poor, they weren't even worth the low price. The rest of the shopping experience was okay but I doubt I will return to this site.
DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP ON THE INTERNET? HERE ARE SOME MORE REVIEWS OF WEB STORES:
Clothing and Accessories: Talbots; The Gap; CWD Kids; Hanna Andersson; J. Jill; Tote Le Monde ; Blu Pyxie ; Miniboden; One Hanes Place; Nordstrom; Gymboree; Simple Shoes; Sierra Blue; Ebags; Shoe Dawg; Osh Kosh.
Clothing and Home Goods: Lands End; Bluefly; Soft Surroundings; Garnet Hill; Sundance; L.L. Bean.
Home and Garden: Smith & Noble; Restoration Hardware; Gardeners Supply Company; Unicahome; Homeclick; FaucetDirect; Gardens Alive; West Elm; Crate & Barrel; MyKnobs; CB2.
Books and Magazines: Amazon.com; ValueMags; Magazine Values; Dover Publications.
Office Supplies, Furniture and Services: Staples; Officemax; Topdeq; Efax.
Electronics: HP Shopping; Buy.com; ABT Electronics.
Travel: Amtrak; Hotwire; Orbitz; Hotels.com.
Discount: Overstock.com; Target.
Photo Developing: Shutterfly; Snapfish.
Baby Stuff: Babystyle; Babys Here Birth Announcements; Baby Universe; SoZo; Baby Center; Baby Age.
Miscellaneous: 1-800 contacts; Movie Tickets.com; Drugstore.com.
Rebate Sites: Upromise; Ebates.
Before you start shopping, check out my tips on how to save money by shopping on the internet . I have also included some coupon codes and plan to add more as I find them.
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? towels