I've purchased my last two television sets online rather than at a brick and mortar store. Prices online can be hundreds of dollars cheaper, especially when free shipping, setup, and no tax are factored into the final purchase price. But that doesn't mean it's a consumer's Shangri-la online...there are occasionally instances where online retailers can be as shady as a used car salesman pushing undercarriage coating in Phoenix. Here's what to look out for...
The MSNBC Technolog reports HDTV blogger, HD Guru, investigation about online retailers revealed a few important key points to look out for before placing an order for that new 55" OLED HDTV:
1) Make certain they're an authorized dealer by the manufacturer of the TV you're interested in. If the price is lower than an authorized dealer, ask yourself: How is it possible they can sell it for less than a factory-direct vendor? How are they able to have such low margins? Are their methods on the up and up?
2) Carefully review the policies, especially the rules on product returns. While a number of legitimate dealers do not accept returns for TVs, scamming dealers never do. Others may have a limited return policy, charge a restocking fee, deduct the "free" outbound freight from the refund, charge for return freight or all of the above.
You may also want to just ignore those fantastic price listing from Abe's of Maine (although I've personally ordered from them in the past without issue, it's been perhaps two years since my last dealing), as the report notes Abe's has been cited for numerous "non-delivery of products, misrepresentation of availability of merchandise, refusal to honor cancellations or provide timely refunds, unprofessional conduct, failure to resolve customer complaints, overcharging, undisclosed cancellation of orders, improper upselling tactics, and bait-and-switch selling."
So which online retailers do they recommend for HDTV purchases for prices and service? Amazon Direct and their approved affiliates, J&R, and OneCall are all spotlighted as quality online retailers. I've also used BuyDig without issue, purchasing a Samsung set at significant discount compared to the local big box store. In any case, you'll benefit reviewing some of the additional details in the HD Guru report over at How to avoid online HDTV shopping scams.