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Online Shopping Hassles?

Long waits, products out of stock, delivery delays - these are the common complaints of holiday shoppers at the mall.

But surprise, surprise, this year the same complaints are coming from some online shoppers.

The Early Show checks in with Jupiter Communications' Internet analyst, Mike May.


Jupiter Communications is projecting 30 million will make a purchase online this year. That's up about 50 percent higher than last year.

"During the holiday season alone, they'll spend about $6 billion on retail and travel products online," May says.

But while most e-shoppers are happy, the added volume has caused problems for some customers.

"A lot of the Web sites have spent so much on advertising, they're driving far more people to their site than they can accommodate," he says.

Customers are complaining of slowdowns at sites, poor customer service, out-of-stock merchandise and late deliveries.

Even large merchants are witnessing a lot of traffic that they were really unprepared for, he adds.

May has the following suggestions for avoiding the hassle.

TIPS FOR ONLINE SHOPPERS
Shop in the morning.
Read the shipping policy.
Order from stores you trust.
Keep receipts and emails.

If you don't receive your delivery or get the wrong item, May says, your best bet is to try to resolve it as quickly as possible by calling the 800 number provided. If the site does not have the infrastructure to tackle the problem before the end of the holiday season, continue to complain, he suggests.

"What a lot [of merchants] will do is either give you some sort of compensation or provide you with a gift certificate you can use after the holiday season because they do want to keep you as a shopper," he adds.

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