You’ve been thinking about getting a projector for a while and have spent time researching the perfect projector to suit your needs. After comparing prices online, you stumble across an amazing price and place your order. Sure, you’re ordering from some company you’ve never heard of, but the price was great… what could go wrong? As it turns out, lots.
We all want the best value for our money, but if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unauthorized resellers sometimes offer deeply discounted prices on equipment, but they aren’t purchasing direct from the manufacturer, so its buyer beware. Here are just a few of the risks associated with buying from unauthorized resellers online:
- Once your credit card is charged, you may never receive the product (unlikely, but it’s happened).
- You may receive a refurbished, counterfeit, stolen or international product (with different specs), or a projector that’s missing a lamp or other key components. Always be sure to check the product description to ensure your projector includes a lamp!
- Manufacturers may not honor warranties for products from unauthorized sellers, so if the equipment is defective, you could be stuck with a broken projector.
- You probably won’t have access to any tech support, so you’ll be on your own if you have questions not covered in the manual.
- If you decide you want a different projector, you may not be able to return it or may be charged a large restocking fee once you’ve opened the box.
We always recommend spending time researching both the projector and the reseller! Buying a projector (or other big ticket item) from an Authorized Retailer ensures you’ll receive the product you ordered, with the specs, warranty and technical support you expect. Why take the risk when you’re spending so much money?
How can you tell if you’re purchasing from a reputable dealer?
- Is it easy to get in touch with a real person? You should be able to quickly/easily reach someone via phone in case you have questions/issues after your credit card has been charged.
- Does the reseller list a physical address? If it seems shady, plug it into Google Maps to see if it’s a real store or someone’s apartment.
- How long have they been in business? It’s super easy to set up a professional looking online storefront in just a few hours. Don’t be fooled by a slick looking site.
- Do they claim to be an “Authorized Dealer” for the projector you want to buy? If not, steer clear, as the source of the projector will likely not be the manufacturer. If you aren’t sure, check the manufacturer’s website for a list of Authorized Dealers.
- What is included in the cancellation/return policy? Are you allowed to return your projector if it’s defective? Will you be charged an extra fee if you’ve opened the box?
- Is the site selling lots of random/unrelated products? If so, the salespeople are likely not experts in projector technology and probably won’t be able to offer much expert advice or support after the sale.
What should you expect from an Authorized Dealer?
- Brand new projectors direct from the manufacturer with full specs and warranty. Some dealers (like Projector People) negotiate better-than-standard warranty terms with manufacturers!
- Customer support and expertise before, during and after the sale. If you have a question about the product, you should be able to easily connect with someone to help you. Being stuck with a projector that doesn’t work and no way to get help is no fun!
So, when buying a projector, be sure to do your research: on both the equipment and the reseller! Don’t make the mistake of trying to save a few bucks and end up with a low quality or broken product. A good reseller will be able to help you with your projector research by providing expert information before, during and after the sale. With just a little extra effort, you’ll be sure to end up with a projector you’ll love for many years. Happy projecting!