|SoundBytes KC-Kansas City's audio video innovators! 816.525.8823 (TUBE)||
We often are asked, (especially after submitting a bid to a client), what about the same product being offered online for slightly less, to considerably less than what we have the price at? We often find ourselves asking the same questions...and here are a few thoughts to shed light on that topic:
1- Is the price too good to be true? Remember the old adage "if its too good to be true..." Often the item(s) are offered below our pricing because the seller isn't authorized to sell it by the manufacturer. This is called a "grey market" and generally means the original manufacturer will not honor the warranty if something goes wrong. Internet sales are sometimes prohibited by the manufacturer as well, also voiding the warranty. Always check the website for the company making the product to confirm they authorize sales over the internet, before buying the items online.
2- Do you lose overall value by eliminating "value added" benefits of buying from a local source? What we mean here is do you lose something in the transaction because you chose to deal with an out of town vendor vs. a local source? This can be anything as small as getting a specific question answered, to shipping woes, or even service or installation & warranty. Sometimes the value saved from the original purchase price doesn't come close to the value lost in not having a local "source" to solve problems or questions that arrive later... (Most of us would never buy a car from an out-of-town dealer with a great service department because in order for that to be of value, we would have to go out-of town for service).
Generally, our installation warranty is one year from date of install, but, unfortunately, we still have to charge for a service call if a product we didn't sell you fails. We cover products we sold without any charges if it fails inside manufacture warranty. We also pride ourselves in the fact that our personal phone numbers are on our business cards and we give our clients an email address that can get them an answer to a pressing question/issue within an hour, most of the time. Try an find the same guy that gave you purchase advice from the online merchant on a weekend! We cannot stress there is a "value" on great local customer service.
3- Are you getting exactly what you ordered? You have no idea until it is received, substituted, or back-ordered. I generally make it a habit to read some of the "comments/ratings" left by previous purchasers from the company I plan to make an order with. If you see a history of bad communication, or consistent poor ratings, it is best to move on to another vendor. A company consistently selling last years models online will always make more sales than they have product. Someone has to get short-changed and disappointed. Try and make sure it isn't you.
Summary: You and I will make purchases on the Internet. Be a well-informed consumer: Great deals are there, for sure. Just make sure you understand there is a risk in every transaction, and try and minimize that risk. Make sure any site you are placing your credit card order with is secure. (the address bar in your browser should not be http:// but should display https:// meaning it is a secure server.) NEVER GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO to an unsecured site. Look at merchants ratings; a leopard doesn't change it spots easily, so don't do business with someone else's bad vendor. Lastly, are you gaining enough value to not make this transaction with a local store? You lose the face to face contact sometimes necessary to understand all the details or instructions.
I can't tell you how many unhappy "internet-orphan" clients we talk to each month who were never quite happy with their purchase(s), until we came in and provided the value-added expertise missing from the original purchase.
We hope you won't become of those "internet-orphans" , but feel free to call us if you are. Otherwise call us before you buy, to avoid the hassle. You wont regret it.