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Buyer Beware! The Truth About Unauthorized Electronics Dealers
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Buyer Beware! The Truth About Unauthorized Electronics Dealers

While the evolution of the internet and technology in general has improved many facets of our lifestyles, it has also displaced our appreciation and loyalty to our neighborhood businesses that we grew up with. For our family members birthday, we would drive down to our local flower shop, purchase a bouquet of flowers along with a greeting card, inscribe our personal message, and sign our name. Today, we visit a website, click a button to have flowers sent from an anonymous store, and send an electronic birthday card.

Undoubtedly, the internet was a catalyst in causing this change in human behavior. Websites such as 1-800-Flowers have grown popular through advertising through television, internet, and a plentiful variety of unwanted “spam” email. Through the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, we may drive right by the same flower shop you remember going to, and not acknowledging that the “Open for Business” sign is now gone and replace by an “Available for Lease” sign.

So what does this have to do with Electronics and Unauthorized dealers on the internet? Plenty. Small electronics stores rely mostly on reputation and word of mouth. Before the internet era, this proved to be more than satisfactory in generating sales and operating a profitable business. Today, small businesses, in order to stay in business, need to have their own website and even spend money on internet adverting. We have made this transition a few years ago and it has definitely proven to be successful.

The dark side of the internet in regards to consumer electronics is the growing population of websites and companies selling product they are unauthorized to sell. Ebay and Amazon allow any “XYZ” company to sell merchandise on their marketplaces at any price they choose. Furthermore, these sellers are NOT authorized dealers for the product they sell. The consumer who purchases their products, will have no manufacturer’s warranty despite the seller still being able to claim they will. In many cases, the products they are selling have MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) restrictions and yet websites such as Amazon and EBAY do not enforce this, allowing any seller, who may or may not have a business license to sell at ANY price.

This is where the buyer beware comes in. These unauthorized websites and companies who violate the manufacturer’s MAP policy are receiving maximum exposure on these colossal websites, Ebay, Amazon, etc. Meanwhile, the websites for authorized dealers selling the very same product with full manufacturer’s warranty, are getting a fraction of these exposure and, in most cases, are getting outsold by unauthorized dealers and websites. The violation of the minimum advertised pricing aka M.A.P. is the number one reason why.

How can you spot an unauthorized dealer? In most cases, the manufacturer’s website will list all their authorized dealers which can be searched alphabetically or by zip code. Some manufacturers will even go as far as provide a list of all the unauthorized dealers. Here are three tips on how to avoid purchasing from an unauthorized dealer.

1.) On the Manufacturer's website, search the list of authorized dealers to find the dealer selling the product you wish to purchase

2.)Use the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website and research the company, years in business, complaints, and overall integrity.

3.) Contact the dealer selling the product. Verify that the product is brand new, has FULL manufacturer’s warranty, the serial number is not removed and if they actually have the product in stock. If there is no phone number, it can only be a very bad sign.

These unauthorized dealers are growing more numerous and the best way to maintain the integrity of family operated businesses and the brands they sell, is to educate the consumer. So, on behalf of all authorized dealers practicing business the correct way, please spread the word!


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