Lori Miller on the 3rd
Susan Capriotti on the 4th
John Ciabattoni on the 4th
Gloria Heim on the 8th
Russ Richmond on the 11th
Robert Widmark on the 11th
Donald McKeon on the 15th
Robin Murren on the 15th
Charlie Hargus on the 23rd
Ron Mielnicki on the 28th
Jeannette Jones on the 29th
Patty Eisenhauer on the 30th
Lori Jasper on the 30th
Ted Holcombe on the 31st
Many thanks to Bob Widmark for all the work he has done by sealing the cracks and obtaining the seal-coating company.
The Pathway Before
These days, almost anyone can sell items on Amazon in five easy steps. The site hosts millions of sellers, making it more like eBay than Walmart. But Amazon does not vet everything on its virtual shelves thoroughly, if at all, and that means you have to be careful about what you’re buying. The site has known problems with fake reviewsand counterfeit items, and a growing number of Chinese sellers have flooded the site with strange new off-brand products in the past few years. Amazon has a fairly good return policy on its own items, but third-party sellers don’t have to abide by those standards, and many don’t.
Whenever possible, you should buy items directly from Amazon.com. Amazon keeps a far better eye on its own inventory than it does on its third-party sellers. Items it sells directly are more likely to arrive as advertised and qualify for free two-day Prime shipping. Because Amazon manages everything, returns are often painless, as well. I’ve gotten refunds for defective items without even having to return them at all.
If you’re already checking out a product on Amazon, always make sure the seller info says "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com." This information is typically in one of two places. Either it’s under the red price (and green "In Stock") or it's under the yellow Add to Cart and orange Buy Now buttons on the right rail. If you're on the Amazon app, it's also under those buttons.
If you’re browsing through Amazon listings, filter the site’s search results to only show items sold by Amazon.com. It will likely improve the quality of the items you see, cutting out a lot of less-relevant, lower-quality search results. And again, the items are better vetted, so you’ll probably get what you expect and have an easier time returning it, if need be.
Step 1: Search for a particular item in Amazon’s search box with category set to “All.” In this case, "Moto G7."
Step 2: At the top of the left rail, click on a Department that fits. Cell Phones & Accessories should be broad enough to include the Moto G7 phone.
Step 3: Once the page refreshes, scroll to the bottom of the left rail and choose "Amazon.com" as your Seller.
Step 4: Now you will only see "Moto G7" products sold directly by Amazon.com
If you still don't see "Amazon.com" as a seller, try hitting the "See More" button. It will bring up a dense but readable alphabetical page of sellers. If Amazon is one of those sellers, it will show up in the list.
Don’t Trust Every Review
Amazon's 5-star review system is supposed to make choosing products simpler, but it's easily gamed. If you’re looking at an expensive product from a company you’ve never heard of, or if there are hundreds or thousands of very positive reviews, do a little sleuthing. Many sellers try to manipulate reviews to get their products listed more prominently on Amazon.
You also want to be alert for reviews that sound like other reviews, ones that repeat key marketing phrases, or any that seem overly happy and wordy. These are both features that the marketing description spells out. If you search for the word “reliably,” you can actually see two reviews that are identical, even though they're supposedly written by different people.
Don’t give much credence to one- or five-star reviews. They're sometimes filled with too much elation or anger to be useful. You can often learn more by reading two-, three-, and four-star reviews. These reviewers tend to have a more balanced perspective and may elaborate on the good and bad aspects of a product without as much rage. Verified buyers are also more trustworthy than non-verified, but they could still be receiving compensation for purchasing and reviewing a product. (It happens.)
Only a small percent of third-party sellers would ever try to scam you or sell you fraudulent goods, but it’s good to be extra vigilant when you’re buying from a seller other than Amazon.com.
Amazon doesn’t do a great job policing third-party sellers and doesn’t require they follow the same return policies.
Here are a few tips to help you know if a product listing or seller is trustworthy.
Check the manufacturer and product:Make sure there's nothing fishy about the company name, product name, description, or images. Do they look like real high-resolution, clear photos taken of a real product? Do they look professional? If not, that’s an immediate red flag. Have you heard of the manufacturer before? It doesn’t hurt to click on the manufacturer’s name in Amazon (it should be a link) to see what else they’re selling, and you can make sure they have a real website and are sold in US stores by Googling the manufacturer’s name or plugging the product name into a tool like Google Shopping.
Check the full list of sellers: Amazon algorithmically suggests a seller for every product. To view a list of other sellers offering a product, click the Used & New (#) link in the "Other Sellers on Amazon" box under the Buy Now, Wish List, and social media sharing buttons on the right rail (or under them on mobile). This page will let you buy or filter out used and refurbished versions, or eliminate sellers that don’t offer Prime shipping or free shipping. It also lets you see how many reviews each seller has, when they could deliver by, and extra any taxes they charge. If Amazon.com were selling this product, it would be listed along with the other sellers.
Ensure you’re looking at the product you intend: At this point, if anything looks fishy or unprofessional, hit Back on your browser and look through your search results again (and don’t forget to filter for Amazon.com as your seller if that’s an option). Amazon search results are a mess of text and images, many of which look remarkably similar. Read the titles of the products thoroughly and check to make sure you clicked on the right product
A Few Final Tips
You should never be asked to leave Amazon.com to complete a purchase. That indicates that something is majorly wrong. Amazon also won't ever ask for your social security number or anything incredibly sensitive like that, so alarm bells should start ringing in your brain if that ever happens.
Watch out for fake emails, as well. Since Amazon is the most popular retailer online, a lot of phishing attack emails try to pretend they are Amazon. A good rule of thumb is to not click links in an email unless you knowAmazon sent it. You can find Amazon's messages to you in its notification center. If an email is legitimate or important, it should be here. Be sure to report any suspicious emails to Amazon.
Everyone has heard the terms "will" and "trust," but not everyone knows the differences between the two. Both are useful estate planning devices that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete estate plan.
One main difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it.
A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes.
By contrast, a trust can be used to begin distributing property before death, at death, or afterwards. A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." A trust usually has two types of beneficiaries -- one set that receives income from the trust during their lives and another set that receives whatever is left over after the first set of beneficiaries dies.
Let’s cut right to it: No. “Free Shipping!” is an attractive offer to most of us, but unfortunately, shipping is never free. If anything, free shipping is getting more expensive every year.
The history of free shipping.
In the early days of online retailing, many suppliers, manufacturers, vendors and distributors offered free shipping without evaluating if it made economic sense. These wild-west days of the internet economy have since passed as profit-conscious online retailers are fully aware of the true cost of transporting goods.
The dirty little secret.
Have you noticed that many online sellers require you to “qualify” for free shipping via a “minimum purchase” when ordering your product? If you look even closer, many products that offer free shipping are more expensive than the exact same products from a different supplier that doesn’t offer free shipping.
This is what suppliers and manufacturers don’t want you to know. The cost of free shipping is ALWAYS passed on in other ways. Sometimes it’s masked by slightly higher prices, a lack of quality customer service, or strict purchase/return conditions. When is the last time you walked into the Post Office, FedEx, or UPS and were greeted with this exciting news: it’s FREE shipping day!
Never. That has never happened because shipping is a basic cost of running an online business and the money has to come from somewhere.
Where does the shipping money come from?
Some companies reabsorb the costs associated with free shipping by not having a Customer Service department. We’ve unfortunately heard many online entrepreneur’s swap horror stories of customer service phones that just ring and ring, disconnect over a period of hold time, or messages that go unanswered.
As we mentioned, some companies require a minimum purchase in exchange for free shipping. Processing larger orders costs companies less than filling a multitude of smaller purchases. Consumers, attracted by the offer of free shipping, purchase more, which reduces overhead costs and allows the seller to handle the shipping costs. The customers who don’t purchase enough to waive the shipping can end up paying a slightly inflated shipping fee to make up the difference.
How can I avoid a fictitious Free Shipping scheme?
Free shipping is a phenomenon entirely unique to North America. Let’s face it, we love free things. But next time you’re buying your perfect product, stay ahead of the “free shipping” facade with these 3 tips:
Keep it simple. Read the fine print, be aware of any strings attached, and read customer service reviews before you take advantage of a seemingly sweet deal on shipping.