Think Before You Click: 8 Things You Should Never Buy Online

Young woman with credit card and laptop


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Shop Smart

We all know someone (maybe it’s you) who’s constantly sprinting to the door to pick up their bubble-wrapped Amazon package. And we get it. As long as you keep the packages coming, every day feels like Christmas. But it can get out of hand, especially if you start ordering things that you should never buy online. So for Amazon addicts and chronic online shoppers, we compiled a list of eight things that you should never buy online — no matter how lazy you are.

Related: 12 Things You Should Never Buy at a Thrift Store

Car with For Sale Sign

A Car

Don’t get us wrong. The internet is great when you’re shopping around for a car. Rather than having to rely on dealers, you can sift through thousands of cars using aggregators like AutoTempest. That said, you should never buy a car sight unseen — and that goes for new and used cars. What if you don’t like how the car drives? What if the seller is lying? What if the car doesn’t even exist? Find your dream car online, then schedule a test drive.

Related: 30 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Fitting Suit to Model

A Suit

If you’re used to rocking a hoodie and sweatpants, buying a suit online might seem like a no-brainer. Who cares if it’s a bit baggy? But remember: Sizing a suit is finicky as hell. Unless you want to look like this, buy your suit in person and go to a tailor. And if you live in the boondocks and truly can’t get your hands on a suit in person, do yourself a favor and measure yourself before ordering online.

Related: 12 Things You Should Never Buy on Facebook Marketplace

Excited Family Moving In New Home


For most people, buying a house is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. So it seems obvious that you’d want to see the property before dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sure, virtual tours exist, but you may not pick up on more subtle structural issues, road noise, and odd smells without showing up in person. Our advice? Don’t buy a house without touring it first.

Related: Things You Should Never Buy on Craigslist or eBay

guitars in music shop
ian al amin/istockphoto

Musical Instruments

If you step into a music shop, you’re likely to hear someone haltingly playing the opening riff to “Sweet Child of Mine '' ad nauseam. But that’s for good reason (sort of). Any musician worth their salt wants to hear how an instrument feels and sounds before they buy it., which is why we encourage you to support your local music store instead of buying online.

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Faceless Computer Hacker
Burak Sür/istockphoto

Illegal Drugs

It should go without saying … but don’t buy illegal drugs over the internet. Buying controlled substances without a prescription on the web could lead to prison time, and importing drugs into the U.S. is a felony.

woman chooses cosmetics and make-up products in a store


There are two reasons you should avoid buying cosmetics on the web. Firstly, it’s hard to know if they’ll match your skin tone without trying them first. But more importantly, the online cosmetics industry isn’t well-regulated, so counterfeit brands run rampant. In one tragic story, a California woman who thought she was buying Ponds skin cream was hospitalized in 2019, as the knockoff product had been tainted with methylmercury.

Choosing the perfect scent

Perfume and Cologne

Unless you know what you’re looking for, shopping for perfume online is a mistake. For obvious reasons, you won’t be able to sample the scent, so you’ll have to rely on products’ (often puzzling) descriptions. Of his $400 “Lost Cherry” perfume, Tom Ford writes, "Like the plump fruit waiting to be eaten, Lost Cherry is powerful and insatiable. Notes of cherry liqueur and a touch of bitter almond drip into its heart, glossing it with a candy-like gleam." If you have any idea what any of that means, go ahead and buy it. Just know that we think you should try before you buy.

Woman online shopping on smart phone fashion clothes at home

Anything From a Shady Site

The internet is a cesspool. So if you’ve managed to find some website that sells suspiciously cheap Louis Vuitton, check the reviews on Trustpilot first and use your best judgment.