I make sure I have a pad, pen and a measuring tape.
A good retailer will give you measurements of their items and I use the tape to make sure I have a good sense of a products size. I have been disappointed once or twice when I receive a liliputian item I thought would be a nice size. If a retailer doesn't list a size and I haven't found it elsewhere I will contact them to find out the dimensions. I write down the web address and the price of the item plus shipping .. if the retailer does not list shipping you can go to USPS.gov and figure it out yourself if the weight of the item is given. If the weight of the item isn't listed AND they do not have a way for you to calculate shipping charges or tell you they will let you know the shipping costs (AND that they will refund overages ) before they charge you I would advise not doing business with that retailer. Remember too though that you are usually saving gas and tax by ordering online so factor that in when figuring if the shipping is worth it.
I once ordered some jewelry components from a retailer who said they couldn't figure shipping costs until the order was completed, I figured it's a few components they won't weigh over 8 oz. Well, my shipping charges were $11.90 for some jewelry components that could have fit into an envelope and been mailed for under $2.00 OR at the very least put in a small flat rate box for $4.90. I did get my postage refunded but it took me a lot of time. Needless to say I will never do business with that company again.
Use Paypal to pay if you can...I will choose a retailer who accepts Paypal over one that will not. It is easier to get resolution for a buyer with Paypal. If you do pay by credit card remember you only have a limited time to file a dispute if your goods or transaction doesn't go smoothly. Be sure to know what your recourse is before purchasing.
If you love shabby, cottage, Victorian or even Primitive there are online shopping malls that list shops with those styles and you can look through a variety of small shops from one central place. I've found that these shop owners are easier to deal with and more willing to work with you.
Those are my tips, please share yours ! You know I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.
Don't forget to enter to win a tea cup candle too...drawing will be on Friday. Until then, ya'll bee sweet and come back to visit.