Online shopping tips to make sure you aren't paying too much

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The holiday shopping season is here, and a College Station woman is reminding consumers to be smart when shopping online.

Hard-to-find toys can come at a premium price.

Christine Garcia loves to shop on line.

"I do a lot of online shopping," said Garcia, a College Station resident. "Especially when you can take advantage of things like Amazon Prime, that kind of stuff, it makes it convenient."

Garcia has a warning for senior shoppers and people not familiar with online shopping.

Prices for popular, hard-to-find toys can come at a premium.

Garcia was astounded to see Walmart.com selling Nintendo's new Classic Edition System through a third party for nearly $500. Its retail price is less than $60.

"I just thought that that was unfair and not consistent with the local stores, so I tried to figure out whether or not that was a mistake or an error," said Garcia. "It was not."

Walmart and other sites like Amazon.com sell some of their items through third parties.

If you can get your hands on Fisher Price's Code-A-Pillar at ToysRUs, you'll only pay $50, but on Amazon, sellers list it for as much as $94.

Hatchimals, another big toy for 2016, were listed as 'out of stock' on Target's website at a sale price of $49.99, but you might wind up paying more than $300 to pick one up on Amazon.com.

Kelli Hollinger is the Director at Texas A&M's Center for Retailing Studies and says shoppers should compare prices before they buy.

"The hot toy sometimes has a premium, and there have been years where folks have waited in long lines trying to get the hot toy," said Kelli. "But if a price seems too much and is far less than what national retailers have advertised, the smart consumer is best to be warned that it might be inflationary and not a solid purchase."

Experts say your best bet when buying online is to pay close attention to who's actually selling you the product.

"Just be patient," said Garcia. "Be patient, and don't buy into the enthusiasm that the new product creates. If you can't get it for Christmas, you can certainly get it for their birthday."

A late Tuesday afternoon check of Walmart's online results for the Nintendo System shows items now at $249 in addition to the $500 seller.

News 3 has left a message with Walmart's media representatives for a response but has yet to hear back.