Safely Buying Electronics Online

The act of buying electronics online might have sounded bizarre 15 years ago. Never mind the idea of doing business on the then-fledgling Internet. But who would want to buy something like a television, a VCR, a home stereo or a car stereo without carrying it out of the store?

Today, of course, buying electronics online is anything but unusualits a fact of life. In 2009, online retailers made almost $900 million worth of sales on “Cyber Monday,” the first workday after the Thanksgiving holiday and a day when people nationwide try to find good deals on Christmas and Hanukkah presents. While Cyber Monday is the, ahem, Christmas and Hanukkah of online retailing, the other 364 days of the year are plenty busy for the dotcomsand for you!

Buying online is a great way to save money, in more ways than one. With gas prices skyrocketing, it makes senseand centsto stay home and shop from the couch. Beyond that, though, online retailers offer the best deals because they dont have the overhead of traditional “brick and mortar” outlets. Its easier to turn a profit when youre not paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per month in rent!

So what are you waiting for? Get online and start shopping! Here are some tips for you as you begin buying electronics online.

Know what you want: Sounds simple, but if you dont identify exactly what you want before you begin shopping, you might end up with a lot more than you bargained for. Buying online tends to lend itself to more spontaneous purchases than old-fashioned shopping. Its tougher to put stuff back when youre not actually holding on to it! So know what you want to buy before you even fire up the computer and youre more likely to find exactly what you want, at a great price.

Research: The beauty of buying electronics online is that you can know all you want about the product or products you are buying online as you sit down to log on. The days of thumbing through a Consumer Reports to find out the pros and cons of a product are long gone. Simply enter the name of the electronic item you want to buy into a search engine and youll have all the opinions you can handle (and then some). Sure, you have to sift through a lot of material, but better to be too informed than not enough, right?

Sample before ordering: Buying electronics online doesnt preclude you from giving a television, a DVR, a DVD player or a Blu-Ray player a “test drive” at a local store. Once you know what you want, and whether or not it is worth the price youll have to pay, head out to your local retailer and check out the product. Seeing it in the flesh, and taking an up-close look at all its features is a vital step in the online buying process. You dont want to order the electronic device only to find out you dont like how it looks or that it doesnt match the dcor of the room in which itll be placed.

Buying electronics online is just as satisfying as buying electronic products at the store. So save some money – good luck, have fun and enjoy!

Extended Warranties for Electronics – Are they worth it

One of the primary concerns of consumers when buying an electronics product or device is the warranty offered by the company. Many countries have certain laws on the warranty of electronic devices due to the fact that these products are often highly indispensable to daily life. Despite the assurance that companies give regarding the standards of their products, a warranty usually gives more assurance to customers when purchasing a particular electronics product. In most cases, companies offer a one-year warranty for their products, while other companies may offer a limited warranty for the same amount of time. A limited warranty usually only covers parts or labor on a repair, but not both. Nowadays, companies are also offering extended warranties for their products.

The basic principle behind extended warranties is that it stretches out the usual one year warranty to two, three or even as much as five years. Of course, you usually have to pay a premium for a longer warranty, sometimes hundreds of dollars, depending on the product. So, are extended warranties worth it? The answer here primarily relies on what kind of electronics you are dealing with. If youre going to buy a very expensive device that is intended to be used on a daily basis and for a long period of time like LCD televisions, refrigerators or air conditioning units, then an extended warranty would be a good deal. On the other hand, if you intend to buy a laptop, which depreciates fast and becomes obsolete quickly, then a one-year or two-year warranty will usually suffice. However, the more you use a product, and the longer term you are going to use a product, the likelihood increases whether an extended warranty is a good value.

Aside from the type of electronics that you intend to buy, the warranty also relies on you as a user. If you know yourself as someone who is very careful in handling electronics, then you might be content with the bundled one-year warranty. However, if you tend to be harsh on your products, like putting them in your pocket or dropping them often, then you should opt to have an extended warranty.

Another useful tip for deciding whether a warranty is worth it for you, is to read up on reviews of the product first. Many times, the reviewers will talk about the warranty and what the best term is for the product. Consumer Reports actually offers reliability ratings for many products, and these can be of great help. If a product is listed as very reliable, then you may not need an extended warranty at all.