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Shopping carts need to have a way to know who you are as you work your way through the screens. This is usually done with cookies, so that is the first place to look.

Hi. I'm having trouble adding things to an online shopping basket. No matter what the shop is, it doesn't add them. I'm currently running on Vista. I don't get any error messages; it just doesn't add the items that I'm trying to buy. I hope this is enough information.

In this excerpt from Answercast #29, I work through various options to troubleshoot shopping cart problems.

Trouble with shopping carts

Kind of enough information.

There are a couple of things that have to be working properly for shopping carts to work. One is cookies.

Clear cookies

  • So, one of the things I suggest you do is clear the cookies; you can use CCleaner on your PC to clear the cookies in your browser.

That's one approach. It can sometimes resolve these things.

If cookies are (for whatever reason) messed up, that can prevent shopping carts from working.

Clear the browser cache

That too can often cause odd behavior on any number of different sites and types of technologies.

Try a different browser

And finally, you haven't mentioned what browser you are using, which is why I hesitated with it being enough information.

  • Regardless of which browser you're using, try a different browser.

Any of the top three will do: the top three being Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

If you're using any one of those and you're experiencing this problem... then try one of the others and see what happens. My guess is that your problem will go away.

In fact, my guess is that clearing the cache or clearing the cookies will probably make the problem go away. But if not, you've got this as a fall back: try a different browser and see how that operates for this scenario.

Probably these steps will resolve the problem for you quite quickly.

Article C5505 - June 24, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Billy Bob
June 24, 2012 6:34 PM

I have one more suggestion for the ultra-paranoid: Turn ON your cookies for the site in question. If your browser does not accept cookies, your carts will probably not work. If you are ultra-paranoid, you might have disabled all cookies. Not that I would know. ahem.

Mark J
June 26, 2012 11:44 AM

It might also be that Javascript is not enabled. Shopping cart programs require Javascript be enabled in order to work.

June 26, 2012 4:54 PM

Was just shopping on Amazon and Mark's right, it said Javascript must be enabled. But I think in most cases it's enabled by default, so don't know how it gets disabled. Awhile back, I could not get a purchase to finalize on Amazon using Firefox, and did find---as suggested---using another browser (Internet Explorer) worked.

June 28, 2012 8:23 AM

It could be a case of an aggressive firewall.
I know I have had issues while running ZoneAlarm where websites do not function as intended, but work fine if ZoneAlarm is not running (my machine defaulting to the Windows firewall in that case)

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