HTMLGOODIES EXPRESS (tm)
January 8, 2001-- Newsletter #112

By Joe Burns

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HTMLGOODIES EXPRESS (tm)
January 8, 2001--Newsletter #112
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Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Did you hear

Creditcards.com was hacked and around 55,000 numbers taken from the site were posted online. Apparently the dot.com knew it was coming. Russian (the think) hackers contacted them and demanded money or they would hack. The company didn't negotiate and beefed up security but the hackers got in anyway. The same event occurred not too long ago on the CDNow site. The hacker who took those number wanted ransom and posted 25,000 when he or she didn't get it.

William Shatner will not stop pitching for Priceline.com as was once believed. The spokesperson has a new ready for 2001 spot running and will be back after the New Year. Whew! That's a relief.

The dot-com lay-off blitz is continuing. Here are just a few of the latest: Organic will slash 270 jobs. Creative Planet will cut 70 in order to secure more funding. Real Names will cut a third of its work force. BigStep.com will lay off 20 percent of its workforce. (Source: Cnet.com)

I'm writing this the day after Bush and Gore gave their speeches officially ending their runs for the White House. This morning, the technology pages were full of articles stating that Bush will be good for the cyberworld. What little is known about his stance does lend credence that Bush is pro-Internet commerce and will take a hands-off approach. Here's a quote from TheStandard.com:

Bush has espoused business-friendly views on technology issues such as online privacy and e-commerce retail sales tax collection. In the words of one senior adviser, Bush "respects the power of the marketplace" and is "very reluctant to be prematurely intrusive in high-technology areas." As a candidate, Bush swore an ambiguous fealty to personal privacy and ducked the question of whether a new broad-based Internet privacy law is needed.

Love him or hate him, Bush will be in charge for at least four years and it appears as if, at least on the surface, he will be good for the Web and its world of e-commerce.

Now onto today's topic

This email is scheduled to go out Christmas day. I highly doubt it will. My guess is that you'll get this a day or two after Christmas.

My wife and I gave up giving each other Christmas gifts a long time ago. We no longer buy things. We buy memories. This year we gave each other a weekend filled with Elvis! We stayed one night at the Heartbreak Hotel across the street from Graceland. After visiting the home of the king, we stayed one night at the Peabody, visited Sun Studios and Beale Street, watched the ducks and saw the Memphis orchestra and ballet perform The Nutcracker. The next day we were off to Tupelo, Mississippi to see Elvis' birthplace and then took the Natchez Trace back home.

Needless to say, it's a gift that will fit and will not be returned. However, if you're one of those who still buys things, maybe you bought some things online. If so, I hope everyone liked your gift. Returns are going to be a bear.

It's not that there aren't return policies. Quite the contrary, I stopped by the site E-ReturnPolicy.com (http://ereturnpolicy.com/body.html) and perused a jillion sites that had return policies. Here are just a few that represented the masses:

**A return and exchange form is enclosed with every package. You need to fill out the form completely and enclose it with the item(s) you are returning. Please indicate if you would prefer to receive a refund, or make an exchange for another size, color or item. Unfortunately, XXXXXXX Stores cannot accept returns of merchandise purchased from XXXXXXX.com.**

I found this a good bit. Items bought online cannot be returned to the store. Now, I know that some stores are offering online to store returns, but if the e-business is online only, then returns are back to the shipper no matter what because there isn't a store to go to anyway.

Here are a few more that all have the same time frame. I saw this a good bit.

**If you're not satisfied with your purchase for any reason, return the item to us within 30 days with the original invoice. Provided it's in saleable condition, we'll refund your purchase price in full. That's it!

**Returns are easy, and for most returns there's no need to contact us. Once you've read the policy below, visit our Returns Center for a shipping label and packing instructions. Within 30 days of receipt of your shipment (including gifts), you may return any of the following items, for any reason, for a full refund (We'll even refund the shipping cost if the return is a result of our error).

**If you are not satisfied with your order you may return the item(s) for a full refund or an exchange within 30 days of receiving your order. In the unlikely event of a damaged shipment, damaged items are replaced for free. Unlike many other Online Stores, our 100% Money Back Guarantee means just that... you get ALL of your money back (including shipping *).

Thirty days.

Inside of a month, you must order the product, wrap and give (or send), have it opened, disliked, rewrapped and reshipped, and arrive at the shipper. All of that should happen in 30 days.

No way. Many sites are asking you to order early to ensure delivery. If you get the gift and then have to ship it or it just simply sits under the tree, you might blow the 30 days right there.

Also does the business allow the 30 days from the time they shipped it or from the time you received it? If it were from the time you received it, how would they know? A well-known bookstore denotes that it is from the time of shipping, the date shown on the packing slip.

I decided to call a couple of the sites about that 30 days deal. I listened closely because many of their menu items had changed.

Marty (not his real name), the telephone sales person at the same bookstore referenced above stated that the return policy is quite flexible and that all you have to do is call and they'll take the merchandise back. He said he's taken back stuff as late as 60 days after purchase.

Rhonda (not her real name), a salesperson at another company that sold luggage was not as helpful. She said the 30-day policy was pretty solid. She said I should call the company just after making a purchase so that that purchase could be flagged and another week could be added to the 30 days.

Donny (might be his real name but probably isn't) worked for a gift shop said that all sales were final after 30 days.

No matter what the time limit or the flexibility of that time limit, most of the stores wanted you to fill out a return slip explaining why you were returning the gift. I think most people are polite, but can you imaging the letters some people must put together? Wow! I'll bet they're fun to read.

So check those receipts. The clock is running and you might run into Donny rather than Marty. When it comes to e-business, it most certainly does not pay to shop early.

You know what was really funny? One of the sites that sold food, a perishable item, didn't have a set number of days in order to get a return in. Hmmm. I still have a fruitcake from 1983. I wonder if they'll take that?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That's That. Thanks for reading. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. I plan to be asleep on the couch by 11. Oh, I'll try to stay awake. I just won't be successful.

And Remember: The new millennium starts January 1st, 2001.

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