Byte Me Article 407 – Online Purchase Announcement

Don’t Be Caught Out Online

This week we interrupt our A-Z of computer purchase mini-series for an important announcement. 

“Unless you know exactly what you need, what you are purchasing, how it works, how to configure it and what to do if it does not work – do not purchase it online.”

We have phone calls and people coming into the shop every week because they have purchased a part or device or kit online and they are unable to get it working.  The feeling of satisfaction and gratification that they get for a few minutes by clicking on the ‘Buy it now’ button quickly erodes and turns to frustration and regret when a lemon turns up or the purchase does not do the job.

So, what do we see in the space of a week?  We see computer gamers purchasing components online and ending up with the wrong RAM or the wrong motherboard or even just the wrong case.  We see customers purchasing cheap camera kits online and ending up with something that is totally wrong for the intended purpose.  We see customers that have purchased software which often duplicates the software that they already have.

Why do they do this?  I believe that it is often through boredom or simply to get a feeling of accomplishing something themselves (to win that battle against technology) & sometimes it is due to the thought of getting a bargain.  This is all well and good if they are purchasing goods or services that they are familiar with, but cross that line to a tech product which is unfamiliar, and you are tempting disaster.

This week we had a person that had purchased an online camera kit in preparation to going on holiday and still wanting to keep an eye on the house from their mobile phone.  This plan came undone when they discovered after the fact from us, that they would need an Internet connection at their house to enable this feature.

Also, this week a gamer that had purchased online, 2 water-cooling kits for his computers but was missing the original CPU retaining clips and it looks like he is now facing a 3 week wait for parts out of China.  In all cases going to a local supplier should have shed light on the project failings in the first place and it would have provided a point of contact for a resolution in the second.

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Many of the online retailers do not have a shop front or a warehouse or a service centre or a publicised phone number or address and have simply created an impressive web site.  They ‘drop ship’ your order direct from an importer / wholesaler and offer no further help.  Even if the goods are dead on arrival you are left on your own to deal directly with the manufacturer which can lead to you having to repackage the goods and freight them to Brisbane / Sydney – and wait.

Before you purchase goods or services online ask yourself a few questions.  Are you familiar with the product offering, have you thoroughly researched the offering, is the seller providing contact details, have you read reviews on the seller, how much are you actually saving over a local purchase, can you afford to lose all of the purchase price for the sake of saving a few dollars?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all the above questions, then go ahead and win that tech battle.  Next week we will continue with our computer purchase mini-series. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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