Buying Off The Internet
There is no doubt about it shopping on the Internet gets you the cheapest deal. Not only are prices lower than in brick and mortar retail outlets but also you save gasoline and sometimes sales tax when you shop. Further, shopping on the Internet is convenient and delivery times for purchases are surprisingly quick even when you specify the cheapest 3 to 5 day ground delivery.
Internet shopping can often more secure than shopping in a retail store. Years after I had canceled a local department store credit card, a charge for jewelry appeared on a bill sent to me. If computer gear was charged, I would have accepted the charge. But since I am a nerd, buying earrings is not something I do. Nothing like this has happened in all of my Internet shopping.
When Internet shopping you cannot handle merchandise directly so you are buying based upon body measurements and specifications. Consequently, researching your purchases is a must to make sure that you get the product that suits your needs. For me this means buying clothing from L.L. Bean or other major catalog stores and reading on-line reports to find computer components that work best together. L.L. Bean is great because you can exchange your purchase when needed at the local L.L. Bean store.
Purchasing a defective product can be a chore. If the product is defective out of the box, then sellers generally replace them immediately. Reading the sellers service terms is a very good idea. Newegg.com sold me a bad Western Digital terabyte drive. This drive failed upon installation, so I returned it to Newegg.com and they promptly sent me a replacement.
Other purchases may not fail right away. This is more difficult because you must rely on the manufacturer’s warranty. Two such experiences have occurred to me. A Western Digital disk drive failed within the first year of purchase. Western Digital handled the replacement in a prompt and fair manner. To replace the disk drive I logged onto the Western Digital website and entered the serial number of the drive. Western Digital immediately determined that the drive and failed while under warranty, issued a Return Material Authorization (RMA), and offered to send the new drive provided that I guaranteed that I would return the old drive by giving them a credit card number. The drive was replaced and the only additional cost to me was a shipping cost.
A second case did not go well. A Nikon S51 pocket camera failed about 90 days after purchase. The camera worked fine until one day the display on the back of the camera showed a very strange image. The camera was now useless. Nikon guarantees their products for one year from date of purchase. However, to get warranty service you must ship the original of the warranty form along with the broken camera and your sales receipt to a service center. When I did precisely as instructed, I received a letter from Nikon about a week later saying that this defect was not covered by warranty and that I would have to pay them $107 more to have the camera repaired. Some words that came instantly to mind cannot be written here. Since the camera only cost $188 delivered, it made no sense to pay for the repair. While I may buy another Nikon camera, I now know that their warranty is worthless.
In general Internet shopping saves you significant money, but there are pitfalls depending upon the product purchase and the seller. Purchasing from reputable vendors and brand-name products is the safest. Although, as I have illustrated here that is no guarantee of a safe shopping experience.
Link to eHow: "How to Buy a Car on the Internet"
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