Amazon is an online store selling just about everything, from books, DVDs, music CDs/MP3s and electricals right down to clothing and groceries. It provides home delivery and allows other sellers to trade through its pages.
Below are today's top Amazon discount vouchers, fully checked and verified by our team of voucher hunters. Get 'em while they're hot!
Whether it's a retailer or restaurateur, airline or air-conditioner seller, computer shop or car rental company, there are always two main risks. Either it's a dodgy company, or it's a legit company that has financial problems and goes bust.
The aim of these tips is to help you minimise the risks.
Quite simply, its customers are immediately transformed into creditors. This hits hardest if you've ordered goods or tickets from them, and not had delivery, as then you become one of a line of people trying to get your money back out of the company's assets, and you usually get back much less than you paid in.
Even if you've had delivery, if the company you bought from goes under and there's a problem with the goods, it can mean you've no comeback.
While MoneySavingExpert.com endeavours to check deals are valid, we don't check companies ' finances. Even huge names like MFI and Woolies have folded, so it's very important you use the right strategies to stay protected where possible.
Pay by credit card for something over £100, and Section 75 laws supercharge your consumer rights.
Unlike debit cards, cheques or cash, pay in full or part (even just £1) on a credit card and by law the lender's jointly liable with the retailer.
This means you have exactly the same rights with the card company as you do with the retailer. So if it goes bust, you can simply take your complaints there instead and get money back if there's no delivery.
Yet it's important you ALWAYS REPAY IN FULL each month, so there's no interest cost. See the full Section 75 guide.
Section 75 doesn't apply to purchases under £100, but there's still an option which can help. It isn't a legal protection, just Visa, Mastercard and Amex's rules, but it's a good back-up.
Spend on a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card or any debit or charge card. If the goods don't appear, you can try to ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller's bank, so long as you complain within 120 days of realising there's a problem. See the Chargeback guide for full details.
Bogus websites are often set up to cash in on popular products like Ugg boots and Tiffany necklaces, so be wary if it's an unfamiliar site. And don't think that because it appears on a reputable search engine, that makes it a reputable site - always check.
Most folk know to look for a security padlock on the bottom right of a website, but that doesn't mean the site's legit, just that payment's secure.
To find out who registered the site and when, search the Whois database. Reputable firms should also appear on the Companies House site, the UK Government's official companies register. Be very wary of businesses with just a PO Box or email address.
Study the site's worldwide web ranking on Alexa. Anything in the top 100,000 means it's reasonably big and a good, though not foolproof indication of legitimacy. Do a quick Google search for other shoppers' experiences.
Crucially, ensure your security's up-to-date - free software can be downloaded to your computer in about five minutes. Full details in the Free Antivirus Software guide.
Many people are surprised to learn you've MORE rights buying online (or by telephone/catalogue) due to the Distance Selling Regulations.
These give you a legal right to send most goods back within seven days for a full refund (including outward delivery costs), even if there's no fault. You'll usually need to pay for the return delivery. Read Consumer Rights for a full guide.
However, of course, this is balanced by the fact ordering online automatically means there's a time gap between ordering and delivering - when the company has your money. So if it goes bust during that time, the distance selling rights don't help.
Ultimately, there is always a risk that a company can go bust. If the above routes don't apply, then you have to make a decision about whether you're willing to take the risk of parting with your cash.
Don't be scared of this. Every day we all make transactions based on trust, and this is part of that, but do balance up the amount you're spending against the risk. Don't give large amounts of money to a company you're not sure about.
Students can get six months' FREE Amazon next day deliveries, (usually £79/year via Prime) when you sign up on this Amazon Student* link trial. After the trial ends, you can get 50% off full Prime membership (£39/year).
While the trial is free, this is a subscription offer, so you'll need to enter card details and diarise to cancel or you'll be charged once the trial ends. There's no obligation to continue with the paid subscription. Details on exactly how to cancel are below in the 'more info' section.
The Amazon Student trial, while giving Amazon Prime free delivery, doesn't give you access to Prime Instant Video and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. You'll only have access to this once you pay for membership.
Who counts as a student?
You must be a UK student aged 18+, with an .ac.uk email address. Or if you've not got one of those, send an email from the address that's linked to your Amazon account to: email@example.com giving proof of enrolment. See the full T&Cs. Even if you've already had an Amazon Prime or Amazon Family free trial, you can still take up this offer.
Once you graduate or after four years (whichever's first) the price for Prime will jump to £79/year.
What are the potential savings?
If you're a regular Amazon shopper, the savings can add up. There's no minimum spend for the free delivery with Prime. Next day delivery costs between £3.95 and £7.99. One delivery a week for six months could cost between £100 and £200.
Is it worth paying for Prime?
Amazon Prime isn't usually worth your dough once the trial runs out, unless you're a regular shopper. It's better to be organised and order early.
What do you get with Amazon Prime?
Previously, the good thing about shopping at Amazon was its free home delivery option. But last year it started to charge for items under £10. Although there was a sneaky loophole when you bought a CD or book, that's recently been stopped.
With Amazon Prime you get free unlimited one-day delivery, on most offers, including those under £10. But not everything on the Amazon site is eligible for Prime delivery, so look out when ordering. The main exclusions are items sold via Amazon Market Place.
After the six months, you'll be automatically upgraded to Prime membership (which costs £39 for the year for students), but you can cancel at any time. To do that, just log into your Amazon account, or follow the 'Manage Your Prime Membership' link from the Amazon Student page.
What do you get with Amazon Student?
1) Unlimited one-day delivery on seven million items.
2) Discounted express and evening delivery.
3) Student offers.
Buy CDs/vinyl from Amazon and its Autorip service* means you now get the MP3s free. Yet this also works for anything bought since 1999. So know what you are doing and you can recover years worth of music, maybe from CDs you may have lost, damaged or thrown away - or re-download MP3s.
How do I check?
Just check 'your music' in Amazon Cloud Player to see if you have any albums or songs from your past, you can then stream or download your music. Simple.
It can take a while for it to find the music. The biggest musical treasure trove in MSE Towers belonged to MSE Darryl, who had 150 albums going back 13 years, which took 10 minutes to get.
We discovered this after I was chatting with MSE Shrey about music storage (we're very interesting) and he told me he recently signed up to Amazon Cloud Player* and found more than 30 albums he'd bought hard copies of years ago.
I asked the rest of the MSE team if they had any music lurking about from their past. To our surprise a load of us did (feel free to judge):
Found music you didn't realise you had? Let us know in the Reclaim lost music forum thread.
Go to the Amazon Discount Finder and choose your department. Next, pick your discount and price range and choose whether you want free delivery. The tool will then generate a bespoke page full of discounts which fit your search terms.
Amazon often offers 75% and better reductions, yet it directs people to other areas, sending them to higher profit margin products instead.
This tool manipulates Amazon's web links to display all heavily-reduced bargains.
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