Avoid Common Pitfalls when Buying New Equipment
1. Base your cost comparison on a consistent budget.
Never let the sales associate select the demo material. Bring something familiar to you when you visit the showrooms. It will “level the playing field” and prevent sales people from manipulating an honest evaluation of their products.
2. Be sure to choose your own demo music.
When you have decided on a comfortable budget, freely give it to the companies bidding on your project. Let them know if it is firm or flexible. Then, compare the quality and quantity variables to make your decision. At Intelligent Electronics, we maximize the quality and quantity of the product within your budget.
3. Avoid b-stock, repaired, and refurbished equipment.
Not only are you not getting the new equipment you expected, you may be getting a piece that is more susceptible to premature breakage. It’s not uncommon for repairs to be made with sub-standard parts and shoddy workmanship. Even if you are aware of the “less-than-original” condition up front, it may turn out to be much less of a bargain in the future.
4. Some vendors falsely claim to be authorized dealers.
When a company obtains a piece of equipment they are not authorized to sell, someone has broken the terms of the dealer agreement. What this means is the warranty on the equipment is no longer valid. Our vendors have developed some sophisticated product tracking systems in order to protect the dealer and the consumer. Even if you were misled in the purchase, there is often little that can be done to validate or claim the warranty. The only way to truly check the status of a dealer is through the manufacturer. This is typically as simple as visiting their web site and scrolling through a list of authorized dealers.
5. Insist the company and installation team be fully insured.
A fully covered company will have liability insurance to cover accidental damage on the job site, workman’s comp to protect its employees (and you) from injury claims that occur in your home, and bonds to protect your deposits on equipment and services. State regulators and responsible business owners recognize this is an absolute necessity. Don’t just take their word for it either. Ask to see their certificates of insurance. A good company will be happy to comply with your request.
6. Be aware that there is a real danger you may be purchasing counterfeit products.
Since there are really no trademark laws enforced in China, we have seen an emergence of very convincing counterfeit goods. Typically this problem is encountered with internet purchases where there is little recourse for the customer or accountability for the vendor. Even the packaging appears to be from the real manufacturer, but the quality never measures up.
7. Internet reviews of equipment and vendors are unreliable.
According to Consumer Reports, 80% of online reviews are biased. Examples include: bloggers being paid to write reviews, positive reviews posted by employees of PR companies, negative reviews posted by competitors and corporations paying to have their products promoted within web site and blogger editorials. All of these are proven and accepted practices occurring in the internet review system. Ask yourself what motivation a site may have for promoting (or disapproving) of any given product.
8. Those pretty pictures aren’t always their work.
Companies that do not have a retail showroom rely heavily on their web site and portfolio to win jobs. Some companies attempt to pass off another business’ work as their own. A picture’s worth a thousand words and a stolen image says a lot about a company.