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9 tips for comparison shoppers

Posted on November 22, 2012
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Here are 9 tips for making your holiday shopping faster, easier, and more budget-friendly:

  1. Use your mobile device as a time-and-money-saving tool for comparison shopping, downloading coupons, searching for availability in stores, and making purchases.

    TIP: Get up to $200 in rebates for a new smartphone and 15% off AT&T calling and select data plans with your Union Plus AT&T wireless discount.
  2. Shop early. Don't wait until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to compare prices and find the best deals online and at the mall. Last-minute shoppers are less likely to save money.
  3. Comparison shop online.  Use search engines to do the legwork work for you.  It saves time, gives you more choices, and can be done any time of day or night.   
  4. Shop smart.  Read a company's security or privacy policy before you buy online and enter your credit card information. Secure websites have a URL that begins with "https" (instead of "http").Most browsers will alert you that you are going to a secure (or unsecured) page. Do not give out your credit card number in a non-secure environment. If you're uncertain about a site's online practices, email or call them directly.
  5. Shop online with companies you know. Shop at well-known sites (e.g. those recommended by your union and AFL-CIO) that encrypt your personal information to limit the risk that someone could use your account information fraudulently. Also, determine the company's refund and return policies before you place an order.
  6. Pay by credit card when shopping online. It's better to use a credit card than a bank debit card for online purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, consumers are liable for a maximum of $50 if a credit card is used fraudulently. Most debit cards don't offer such protection. And with the Union Plus Credit Card, you're 100% protected when you shop online. You have $0 liability if your credit card is used illegally.
  7. Keep a record of online purchases. Print a copy of your purchase order and confirmation number for your records. According to the federal Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule, merchandise must be delivered within 30 days unless you're told otherwise.
  8. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.  It simplifies comparison shopping and can save you hundreds of dollars.  You'll have instant online access to thousands of product ratings and side-by-side comparisons.  Plus with your Union Plus discount, a one-year subscription is just $22 (reg. $30) and you're supporting members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
  9. Remember to look for good gift deals using your Union Plus holiday-related discounts.  Your union discounts can save you hundreds of dollars this holiday shopping season.

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Help if you don’t know your union

Your union membership dictates which Union Plus benefits you are eligible to use.

  1. What your national union’s name (not just your local number)? Scroll through the list we have to see if you recognize your union.
  2. What type of work do you do (select your occupation)?
  3. Do you have a union member card or union publication/letter that shows the name of your union? Find something with the name of your union, not just a local number.
  4. Is there a shop steward or work colleague you can ask what the name of your union is? You can even ask your human resources department to tell you the full name of your union?
  5. Do you have a Union Plus Credit Card? If so, the name and logo for your international union should appear on the front of the card.

Union Plus Credit Card

Union members are automatically eligible for their union's Union Plus benefits and you do not need to be a Union Plus Credit Cardholder in order to access your union's Union Plus benefits.

But - if you are a Union Plus Credit Cardholder, you could be eligible for additional discounts.