Direct ship, coupon code or PayPal?

Shipping_routes_red_blackWhen you review for sellers on Amazon they typically ask to send a coupon code, ship directly, or in some rare instances – ask if they can reimburse you the cost of the item via PayPal.

The most common way sellers use is the coupon code.   It’s the easiest, most hassle-free way for the reviewer (in my opinion) to obtain review products because shipping is typically faster and you can track your orders via Amazon’s website.   The seller generates a code and provides it to the reviewer who then enters the code at checkout, and the discount is applied.    Some caveats; coupon codes sometimes have a ‘start’ and ‘end’ time that they are valid for.   If you use it too early, Amazon will give you the message “the promotion has not yet started”.  If you wait to long, the promo code will expire.   Sometimes the codes register as ‘invalid’.   In that case you have to contact the seller again and ask for a new code.   This happens quite frequently, and I don’t even think twice about it anymore.  Discounts can be any percent off up to 100%.   Discount codes work a lot like gift cards, except that there will not be a larger cash balance associated with the code than the cost of the product.  If there is, that is a huge no-no and a violation of Amazon’s TOS.

I don’t do reviews that will cost me more than $1.00 out of pocket.   I get offered a lot of products at large discounts (70%, 80% and 90% off), but I have never accepted those.  I have made it a personal rule that I only accept 99% and 100% off codes.  I don’t want to go broke just to review items I don’t actually need, so having this rule in place helps me to keep things in check.  There is nothing wrong though, to accept reviews that cost more money if you can swing it – especially if you think you will like product.

The next way that a reviewer can receive product for review from a seller is via direct ship.   This occurs (for me) in about 30% of my interactions.   You will be required to give the seller your address and sometimes your phone number.   At first I was hesitant about giving that information, but now it seems routine and I have never had an issue with it.  The advantage with direct ship is you know you will get the item for free, but you never know for sure when it’s coming unless the seller gives you a tracking number.   It just shows up whenever it shows up- sometimes in a few days and sometimes in a few months, sometimes it never shows up at all!  This is why it’s key to have a good method to track your review items!

The last way is when the seller says they will send money to your PayPal account (or some other method of sending you money).   I have had this offered to me only twice.   The first time I did it, it ended up being kind of a mess.   They were a seller from China, and so the money conversion rate was different, and there were fees taken out… so the money that landed in my PayPal did not cover the cost of the item.   Then they added more money in to cover the shortage but it still didn’t cover the item because the conversion rate was off again.     The second time it was offered to me to use this method, I declined.   It just didn’t feel right even though the cash amount was only to be the amount of the Amazon transaction.   I will never accept another PayPal request, it’s just not for me.   It doesn’t come up a lot anyway, so it won’t present an issue I am sure.

I have only had a seller send me an item unsolicited one time.  It was a pair of earrings.   I have heard (anecdotally) that some reviewers have this happen to them all the time, that companies send their products out unsolicited just hoping they will be reviewed.   That would be kind of cool, but that has not been my experience.  Of course, I don’t publish my address anywhere either, so that may be a factor!


Come down to the cellar, check out my blog archives.  Vintage!


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