Monthly Archives: January 2013

Buying a new car in 2013? Check out these top safety picks

If you’re starting the new year by shopping for a new vehicle, I highly encourage you to examine safety ratings before you fall in love with a “dream car” (see my previous post for details). New selections from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offer a good starting point for your vehicle hunt. The IIHS announced the following mid-size vehicles as winners of its 2013 “Top Safety Pick +” awards; most are moderately priced, while the last two are more on the “luxury” side of things:

The IIHS evaluates vehicles for five criteria. To be a Top Safety + pick, vehicles must earn the highest possible score in four of those five evaluations. In the fifth, they must earn at least an “acceptable,” which is the second-highest rating available.

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Filed under Buying a new or used car, Product recommendations, Shopping tips, Uncategorized

Beware of exclusions at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods is one of the largest stores of its type in my community. The two-story superstore sells clothing and shoes for a variety of sports, as well as camping equipment, guns, kayaks, workout equipment and many other sports-related items. While the store sells high-quality merchandise, none of it is cheap. So, being the bargain hunter that I am, coupons and promo codes offered by Dick’s are especially appealing to me.

Recently, I shopped for a pair of running shoes for my father as a Christmas gift. I was excited to receive an email from Dick’s with a code for a percentage off of athletic shoes. I scoured the Dick’s website for the right pair of shoes and tossed them into my virtual shopping cart. When I tried to apply the promo code, it wasn’t accepted, and I couldn’t decipher from the error message what the problem was.

I called the store’s customer service hotline for assistance and found out the brand of shoes I’d selected was not eligible for a discount. So, I asked how I could tell what brands are eligible and which ones aren’t. The sales rep told me to enter the word “exclusions” into the search engine at dickssportinggoods.com to return a list of brands to which discounts don’t apply.

Turns out the list is long and included most of the shoe brands I was interested in: Nike, Saucony, Asics and Brooks are on the list. In fact, as of this writing, more than 100 brands of sporting goods are on the list, along with a note that the following are also not eligible for coupons: tennis and racketball rackets, baseball/softball bats and gloves, licensed and championship merchandise, outdoor electronics, cardio fitness equipment and golf balls.

So, if you have a coupon or promo code for use at Dick’s Sporting Goods, here’s some advice: before you spend a lot of time looking for the perfect item, use the search word “exclusions” on the company’s website to find out whether you can use the code on the brand or type of item you want.

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Filed under Customer service, Sales and promo codes, Shopping tips