Buying groups are a great way to earn extra credit card points. While they do take some effort and you need to be organized, they can be very beneficial. I’m going to show you everything you need to know about them and how to use them successfully.
This post is sponsored by MaxOutDeals. All opinions are 100% my own.
I have been using buying groups for several years as part of my points earning strategy. They can especially come in handy when I’m trying to meet the minimum spend requirement for a new card. Recently I came across a new buying group, MaxOutDeals, and they have quickly become my favorite group to use.
Buying groups have some nuance to them, but this simple guide will teach you everything you need to know about buying groups and how to successfully use them.
What Are Buying Groups
Buying groups are companies that purchase various goods from people like you and me and pay them a predetermined rate for those items. These types of transactions require a fair amount of trust because you are basically purchasing these goods with the understanding that you will be paid once the item is delivered to the buying group’s warehouse.
One reason I like MaxOutDeals is that they are part of the WSEB family of companies. One of their other companies is Wireless World, which is a large electronics wholesaler and distributor. Knowing they are part of a large company gives me extra confidence that I’ll be paid for the items that I send them.
How Do Buying Groups Work
All of the buying groups I’ve worked with have a very similar process. As an example, I will outline the process specifically for MaxOutDeals.
Sign Up – First, you need to sign up for an account with the respective group. You can sign up for MaxOutDeals here. At the end of the signup process you’ll be given an ID number, which you’ll need later.
Deals – Once you have an account, you can purchase items the buying group is requesting. On the left side of the dashboard there’s a tab that says “Deals”. Here is a list of all the deals they are currently buying along with the price they’re paying for each item.
Please note that some buying groups will frequently offer prices that are BELOW COST, so you might actually lose money on the purchase. (They do this for various reasons that we won’t go into.) But one big reason that I love MaxOutDeals is that they only offer deals at the full retail price and sometimes they even pay you a small commission, too. Please ensure you read each deal carefully before making a purchase.
Commitment – If you see an item you’d like to buy, you will need to enter a “commitment”. Simply click on the “Commit” button and enter the number of items you purchased. You can update this number at any time. This allows the buying groups to limit and track how many items are purchased.
Sometimes they’ll cap the number of items they’ll buy, so if the deal is “full”, don’t purchase that item. In all cases, if you send them an item that you don’t have a commitment for, they can refuse to accept the item.
Delivery – Each buying group will have specific addresses you need to have the items sent to. They will always have at least one address in a state that is sales tax exempt. Almost all deals will not pay you for sales tax or shipping costs, so be careful where you ship the item to and what shipping method you use.
Tracking – Once the items ship, the retailer will send you a tracking number. You will need to enter this tracking number into the buying group’s portal so they know which shipment is yours. You will enter this on the “Order Management” tab within the dashboard.
In addition, you will need to add your buying group ID number to your shipping address when making your purchase. This is an additional way for them to know which items belong to you. For example, if my buying group ID is 1234, I will enter my name as John Doe 1234 when filling out the shipping address for my purchase.
Receiving – Once the item arrives at the buying group’s warehouse, they will “check in” the item. Once this is done, you will be emailed a receipt showing what they received and how much you were paid. The amount paid for that item will then be added to your account.
Timing – Once an item is delivered to the warehouse, it can take a few days for it to show in your dashboard as “received”. The timing will vary by group and the time of the year. Peak times like Black Friday can take longer. Another reason I like MaxOutDeals is that they are generally very quick to check things in. My first few orders were checked in the day it arrived. On average though, it typically takes 3-4 days.
Payment – Once you have a balance in your account, you can request an e-check for your balance. MaxOutDeals typically generates the check within 1-2 business days, which is much faster than other buying groups I’ve tried. (One more reason why MaxOutDeals is at the top of my list!) Once the check is generated, you can print the check from your account and then deposit it into your bank account.
If you want to give buying groups a try, my biggest piece of advice is to STAY ORGANIZED. It is critical to keep track of everything you buy and the details of each purchase. The last thing you want to do is send an item to a buying group, forget to track it and then not get paid for the item.
I keep all of this information in a spreadsheet. It’s an easy way to keep track of everything and make sure you get paid appropriately. And if something goes wrong, you’ll have everything at your fingertips to get it resolved.
Along the lines of staying organized, I would recommend starting slow. Pick a small, inexpensive item to start with. Then go through and learn the entire process. That way, if you make a mistake with a $19 Fire Stick, you won’t lose any sleep while you’re resolving the issue.
What If Something Goes Wrong
I know this all sounds nice and easy. But what if something goes wrong? To date, I have purchased hundreds of items and spent over $100k with buying groups. While infrequent, problems do arise and it can take some time and effort to get things resolved.
If something doesn’t go perfectly, don’t freak out. Keep in mind, all buying groups have a support ticket system where you’ll handle most of these issues.
Here are some of the main issues I’ve run into and how to solve them –
Paid The Wrong Amount – Prices for deals can change from one day to the next. Sometimes when an item is checked in, the wrong amount is paid out. When this happens, I create a ticket with information about the order and it has always been corrected.
Item Not Received – Each group is usually very good about keeping you informed as to their progress of checking in items. But what happens if they say they’ve checked in everything received by a certain day and yours was delivered in that time frame?
I’ve had this happen a couple of times. In all cases, I’ve opened a ticket and sent them the order details, including the item’s serial number if applicable. They will investigate the items and in all cases but one, they have found it and then credited my account.
The one time it wasn’t found, I was able to contact the retailer and they issued me a refund. YMMV with the retailer if this happens to you, but this was my experience.
Damaged Item – Only once has an item I ordered been delivered damaged. When this happened, the buying group contacted me and I processed a return with the retailer. I then emailed them the return shipping label and documents and they sent the item back on my behalf.
Maximizing Your Buying Group Spend
In addition to the credit card spend and small commissions, there are other ways to maximize your benefit from buying group purchases. My favorite way is to use shopping portals and cash back portals when making any purchases.
TopCashBack – TopCashBack is a fantastic portal to use when buying Amazon devices. These are items buying groups need frequently. When you go thru TopCashBack, they give you 8% cash back on all Amazon devices purchases.
Rakuten – I also like using the Rakuten shopping portal when making purchases from stores other than Amazon. I prefer Rakuten because you can earn AMEX Membership Rewards points instead of cash back.
I think buying groups can be a great way to earn extra credit card points. If you are willing to put in the effort and stay organized, they can be a great piece of your points earning strategy. If you decide to give them a shot, I would definitely recommend starting with MaxOutDeals.
As with everything, if you have any questions, just leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to help.