The internet allows for anyone working out of their home garage to look like a legitimate, sometimes large, online retailer. This causes customer frustration and financial losses as they shop on these sites and make their buying decision only by price and do not look further into who they are buying from. Here are some things to look out for when choosing who to buy from online:

  • Is the dealer you are buying from authorized by the manufacturer to sell the product[s] you want to purchase? If not, you more than likely will not get the manufactures warranty.
  • What happens to the product you purchased if it needs warranty service? Can you send it straight to the manufacturer for service or are you at the mercy of the web site operator to take care of the repair since the product you purchased has no manufacturer’s warranty?
  • Does the item you purchase have the serial number still on it? If it does not, most of the best manufacturers will refuse to service a product that has a missing or altered serial number, even if you offer to pay for the repair out of your own pocket!
  • What if you have one of those units that are constantly breaking? Will the web site operator you purchased from exchange the unit for you at no charge after you have sent it in for multiple warranty repairs or will you be stuck with a defective unit that they cannot or will not repair, forcing you to buy another unit to replace it.
  • What is their Return Policy – Some sites do not allow you to return any products you purchased. Their policy is “you bought it, you own it”, even if it is defective! Some have limited return periods with lots of restrictions and costs.
  • Do they charge restocking fees? – Some sites charge 15% or more in restocking fees if you want to return an item, even for an exchange!
  • What if you see the same item lower on a legitimate web site? – Will they offer to match the price for you – if so, for how long after the original date of purchase?
  • Is the item shipped to you directly from the company you are buying from or do they use a third delivery company? This can cause issues with proof of delivery, who you return the product to for a refund or service and other issues since the company you purchased the product from does not actually buy product, they just pass your order along to a third party.
  • Are you getting everything in the box that is supposed to be there? Some sites take accessories out of the box, such as remotes, and sell them separately.
  • Is the item new in the box? Some sites sell open box or refurbished items as new without identifying them as such. Be sure you are getting what you think you should be getting for the price you are paying.