Here in the Student Ministries department, we’ve been on the lookout for a new video camera. We’ve been really close to punching in the credit card numbers before we realized that the website was, well, a little “less than reputable.” So to help you avoid some of the problems that we’ve thankfully been spared (it could have been a lot worse), here are a couple thing to keep in mind before you buy.
1. Ask About Them – One of the best ways to find out if a company is worth working with, just ask some people that would know. Ask about the company; if they’ve ever heard of it or would avoid it. And make sure you ask someone who has some idea what he’s talking about. Asking your aunt or your waiter at Applebees probably won’t get you very far.
2. Google Them – We almost got burned because I skipped this one. If I had done it, then I would have seen the message boards that said, “DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY.” Just punch in the name of the company and click through a couple links to see if anything comes up, positive or negative.
3. Call Them – Just a simple phone call will tell you how their customer service will be if you have a problem. And if you’re buying something electronic, you WILL have a problem. During our hunt, I called one of the companies and was on hold for over 20 minutes. Then when they finally picked up, they transferred me to another department and I was back on hold. It’s worth your time, just give them a call. It will save you frustration down the road.
While this is not the “End-All” list of buying principles, these were some of the things that helped us out this time and will help us in the future. So when you’re cruising online and find a deal that’s “too good to be true”, history and a cliche will tell you that it probably is.