MailOrder

Purchase by mail is generally an accepted practice for items not conveniently available locally, but there may be other reasons to prefer this way of doing business.

Economy and convenience are not normally considerations. Mail order is going to cost as much as buying locally in most cases, but the costs may differ as to where the charges go. Local purchase is going to have sales tax added. Mail order, if out of state, will not have sales tax but it will have shipping and maybe handling charges.

Mail order is easier to shop if you have an internet connection and computer. Instead of calling on the phone or driving around from store to store you search for vendors on the internet. This allows you to do some effective comparison shopping very quickly. This can also divert you from your search. Some sites will reply to whatever you enter into a search engine and when you get there you find out that they have nothing of interest. Blacklist them and tell your friends. Fool me once and you get blacklisted. Sometimes comparison shopping services work but more often they just try to sell you stuff at high prices.

Most of the computer stuff we buy is mail order because of pricing. Not sure why but the local computer parts emporiums are nearly always 10 to 20 percent higher in price than what we can find on-line. True, you don’t have to pay shipping locally but you do have to pay sales tax and at close to 10 percent now that comes to 100 dollars on a 1000 dollar purchase. On big ticket items like that shipping is usually less than the sales tax you are likely to incur. So it is not difficult at all to go mail order when the mail order price for the item is also lower. Makes you want to mail order your next automobile purchase.

Not all mail order places are good places to shop. If the prices are TOO good check around to see why.
Product that is refurbished, reissued, or factory restored, is most likely junk. White box, open box, missing software and instructions, or factory direct warnings are reasons not to buy. Finally, check their return policy. An ‘all sales final’ announcement is a deal breaker. Return for store credit may also be a deal breaker. Store credit is where they allow you to purchase something of equal value but do not give you a refund. You have to decide if you want to take another chance after the first attempt ended in failure.

We find that there is absolutely no good reason to continue doing business with a vendor that disappoints. There are just too many other vendors with good reputations to waste time on a stinker.

Also beware of scams like free shipping, third party offers of 10 percent off your next purchase, or announcements of prizes. These usually come at check-out. If you find them trying these tricks, check-out without paying and blacklist the vendor.

While there is no such thing as ‘free shipping’, there may be no additional charges on certain items for shipping. All this does is promote sales and all they are telling you is they will not charge your twice for shipping as the shipping charges are already included in the sales price.

The worst thing about mail order is the wait. Tracking services just aggravate the wait. They give you something to do while you wait and how do you know that you are not wasting your time getting false updates? You can be pretty sure that the updates will not include notes like, ‘Your package has not been shipped yet because we are lazy bastards and already have your money, maybe tomorrow.’

If you can get stuff shipped USPS do so, but don’t pay extra for tracking, arrival verification, or insurance. If the item is worth more than 100 dollars yo might consider insurance. The USPS has never lost any of our stuff in over 30 years and we are told that it is next to impossible to get satisfaction from an insurance claim to the USPS. Also, their tracking is unhelpful and annoying. They tell you your package has been shipped. Well you already know that since you saw it placed in the shipping bin. Then they tell you that your package has arrived. You also know that because you have already opened it and are using the product.

USPS charges are going up all the time and there will be a point where those charges are no longer justified. That will happen when FedX or UPS charges are lower. Keep an eye on things and act accordingly.

Shipping damage? The only shipping damage we have incurred in over 30 years of very active mail order shopping was from a seller on ebay. UPS damaged an improperly packaged radio sent out by someone who had no business being involved in shipping things. The fact that UPS even excepted the obviously poorly packaged radio for shipment is an indictment of UPS. They don’t care either.

We have never received damaged goods from a real vendor.

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