You're shopping online, looking for that perfect vintage or antique piece. You scroll through Pinterest, Instagram and/or Google Images, click on the shop or site but how do you know if the piece that you're buying is a fake or original and if the site or shop is reputable?
Will your item ship in a reasonable period of time?
Will you be able to return it, if it doesn't meet your expectations?
Will you be able to communicate with the shop owner?
All crucial questions that could send you out to the nearest antique mall versus buying online.
Take a good look at the site.
Do they have an "About Us" page?
Is there a way to contact them via email or phone?
Do they have a location listed (State or Town, Province, etc.)?
Do they have a return policy?
Are there good, clear photos from all angles available?
Do they state their shipping policies?
Are there markings/hallmarks on the piece that are not discussed in the listing?
Do you see flaws to the piece that aren't mentioned in the listing? and if so, have you contacted the seller to ask questions about it and not heard back?
Do they show their feedback?
(Feedback can be a relative thing, which is why I put that last. Many shops push their customers to leave feedback, while others communicate privately. Additionally, the feedback set up of various sites can make it difficult for people to use that option.)
These guidelines are good to keep in mind, not only for Vintage and Antiques, but for new items as well.
Also keep in mind that a lack of communication from your seller, can be a bad sign. We are in a business that requires communication, so those who are not communication friendly, really should not be in the retail business. However this is the Internet and occasionally email glitches happen. I would suggest (for those who have not received any communication) that you contact the seller to be sure that your item has shipped and to obtain a tracking number.
I send a thank you email, with details of when and how the item will ship. I follow that up with the expected delivery date and tracking number. After the appropriate shipping time has occurred, I track my packages and contact my customers to be sure that they've received and are happy with their purchase/s.
That might be a little over the top for some, but it helps me sleep at night:)
It's important to note that we all make mistakes. It's how you handle those mistakes that makes all the difference.
In summation, give the seller and the site, a "once over" and if you answered "no" to any of the questions above...move on to someone who does list those things. The great thing about buying online is that you have many options, make the most of them, but do it wisely.
Thanks so much for reading and good luck out there:)
Thank you to +Margaret Siemers and her post in our Vintage & Antiques Community on G+ ,for blog post inspiration:)