Consumer Information Online

General Information

FTC Shop Safely Online Brochure

Prepared by the Federal Trade Commission and American Express, this brochure includes helpful tips for secure and private shopping on the Internet, especially during the holidays.

On Guard Online

Practical tips from the government and the technology industry on avoiding Internet fraud.

Safe Shopping
This American Bar Association site shows you how to shop safely online. Answers questions about security, privacy, payment, product, terms delivery, records, complaints, and tips.

Shopping

Superstores
Amazon.com
Not just for shopping, but also a great place to get user reviews of books, electronics, apparel & accessories, toys & games, DVDs, home products, baby products and much more.
Product and Shop Directories/Price Comparison
Various shopping search directories to help you find the right stores quicker.
BizRate
Independent directory of quality shopping sites. Provides the top 25 retail sites for overall customer satisfaction in the categories of apparel, books, computers, electronics, food and drink, games and toys, health and beauty, hobbies and collectibles, home and garden, music and videos, and sports and fitness. Shop by product. Takes you to the appropriate website where you can purchase the product.
Product Reviews (Professional Ratings)
Various product review sources. Get the most info before making a purchase decision.
Consumer Reports

Still the best site for professional product reviews. A fee is required for the ratings section, but there is some free information available here. You can search the website to find out which issue of Consumer Reports reviews the product you are researching. Then, stop in the Evanston Public Library to view the appropriate issue, or use the Library's online resource, "Infotrac General Reference Center Gold," to read the electronic copy (Evanston Public Library cardholders only).


ConsumerSearch
Get expert product reviews free from Consumer Reports, PC Magazine, and dozens of other sources. Product categories include electronics, sports, office, kitchen, health and beauty, cars, and baby products.

 

Product Reviews (Consumer Ratings)
Various products reviewed by consumers. Get the most info before making a purchase decision.

Buzzillions

Online product review sites have a common flaw; you can't tell if theperson writing the review actually bought the product! Buzzillions gives higher rankings to reviews written by verified customers.


Epinions

Great site to consult before you buy any product! Provides unedited opinions and reviews from user members about a broad range of products and services. Links to professional reviews and buying guides are also available in many categories.

 

Retrevo

Reviews of all sorts of gizmos: phones, cameras, digital frames, MP3 players etc. Bonus: you can also download free instruction manuals!

Auction Sites
Auctions where the site provides the tools for Internet users to buy/sell products between one another.
Ebay
An online marketplace where practically anyone can sell practically anything. Includes tens of millions of registered members and maintains a well-respected feedback system where users (buyers and sellers) can submit comments about their dealings with one another.

 

Travel

Online Travel Agents
Take care of all your travel arrangements online.
Expedia
Microsoft owned online travel agency. Able to book flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, and cruises directly from the website, often at discounted prices.
Note that most airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and car rental companies have their own websites where they offer information and discounted prices. For example:
United
Hilton
Royal Caribbean
Avis
Bargain Travel Agents/Travel Auctions
Travel Agents offering discount prices and last-minute deals.
Priceline.com
With a little flexibility in your travel plans you can name your price on airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, or vacation packages.
Travel Guides
Resources for planning and researching trips.
MyTravelGuide
online travel planning, chat, travel tools, online booking, more.
Note that most publishers of travel books have online companion websites where much (if not all) of the content is free. For example:
Fodors
Frommers
Lonely Planet
Rough Guides
Rick Steves
Online Maps
Travel Agents offering discount prices and last-minute deals.
Mapquest
worldwide maps, directions, yellow pages, and travel guides.

Additional Consumer Websites of Interest

Consumer Product Safety Commission
Search for product recalls, report an unsafe product, view and order CPSC publications.
Better Business Bureau
Includes sections on "Online Fraud Red Flags," "Online Shopping Tips," "Protecting Your Privacy," "Bogus Websites," and "Quick Check List."
Consumers Union Advocacy Site
Lots of good consumer related information by the publishers of Consumers Reports.
FirstGov – Consumer
Part of FirstGov project, resource for consumer information from the federal government.
National Fraud Information Center
Internet and telemarketing fraud; advice, trends, and more.

Other Good Shopping Sites

Superstores
Yahoo
Shop in 14 different categories for all sorts of products.
Buy.com
Shop in 10 dept's; specializes in electronics and computers.
Product & Shop Directories/Product Comparison Sites
Shop.com
Online mall and directory for all products on the Internet.
MySimon Comparison shop for anything and everything.
PriceGrabber.com
Comparison shop in many categories.
Product Reviews Sites (Professional Ratings)
Consumer Guide
Home, auto, and electronic product
Product Reviews Sites (Consumer Ratings)
Ratings.net
Product ratings by website members.
Auction Sites
Half.com
eBay owned site - buy and sell books, entertainment and electronics products at half price or less.
Ubid
Specializes in computers, but now fulfills most product genres.

Other Good Travel Sites

Online Travel Agents
Travelocity
All travel and vacation services available.
Orbitz
Travel arrangements from the leading companies.
Yahoo! Travel
Yahoo’s travel guide has flight, car and hotel reservations, airfare bargains, a geographic guide to destinations, and more.
Bargain Travel Agents
Cheap Tickets
Flights, rental cars, hotels, and cruises.
Bid4vacations
Bid on hotel rooms, weekend getaways, cruises and more.
SkyAuction
Bid starting at $1; airfares, car rentals, hotels, vacation packages.
Hotwire
Airfare, hotels, rental cars; partnered with major airlines.
Online Maps
Yahoo Maps
Location maps and driving directions.
Expedia Maps
Street maps, driving directions, and routes.
Other Travel Sites of Interest
Time Out!
Learn about sightseeing, nightlife, restaurants and accommodations in cities around the world, including Chicago.
Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory
Lists official government tourism offices, convention and visitors bureaus, and chambers of commerce.
Travelers Currency Cheat Sheet
Translate just about any home currency into any destination currency with the click of a button.
Amtrak
Find fares and book train trips online.
Greyhound
Plan trips and purchase tickets online.
There are many, many more sites. For even more Consumer and Travel sites visit the Evanston Public Library Reference Web Site Bookmarks (our favorite websites by subject)
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