Whether you are new to buying industrial equipment or not, it is important to make sure you shop online safely. Due to the high costs of industrial equipment it is essential that you protect yourself whilst you shop online. The worst case scenario could mean handing over your money to a fraudulent company. Here’s how to look for the tell-tale signs of fraud and how to avoid it.
It’s completely understandable that you as a buyer wish to shop online to find the lowest possible price. It’s even more likely that you will do this if you are purchasing with a small budget for a fledgling company. In this case it’s even more important that you protect your purchase whilst you shop online, even if it means missing out on the deal of the century.
1. Read Reviews
The biggest and best industrial retailers will have a huge number of reviews and will allow you to read them as you shop online. Other customers will have shopped there before you and will often leave good feedback. Look for a balance between low-star and high-star feedback and how the company dealt with negative reviews.
2. Call the Company
All online shops will have a phone number, whether it’s a landline or mobile number, you should try and touch base with them before parting with your cash. When something seems untrustworthy about the company, call them and see what their response might be. If the company claims to be in the UK but has an oversees phone or account number this may be the time to turn tail and run. Have you managed to reach someone using the number provided? Ask them technical questions. Do they know how tho answer them, seem intelligible and display the technical knowledge you would expect from a sales representative? If so, good. You might have found a discount store worth sharing.
3. Look at the Website. What Does It Say About the Company?
A good quality website with nice graphics and a good level of fresh content is expensive. If the company has a poor, or worse still, no website, the company clearly isn’t operating with the funds necessary to pay a developer. Remember that scams are intended to catch out those who are not paying attention, so make sure you really look at the website and ask yourself what it tells you about the company.
4. View the Social Media Pages, Everybody Has one!
If the company has an online presence it’s more than likely that they also have social media accounts. Look for them on Twitter and Facebook, and try and open up some line of communication with the company this way. Ensure that the company’s brand and image is represented in the same way on both the website and on social media pages.
5. Check the Legal Stuff
A legitimate company will allow you to see their company registration number and their policies online. If this is missing, the company might not be legally registered to trade or sell products online. If you are in doubt about the details of the transaction the policies should help. Some policies may be written to trick unsuspecting customers out of their products, or send poorly refurbished kit in the place of new. Make sure you read and understand the policy before purchasing so you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
6. Use Your Head
Make sure you are happy with the company before you shop online. If all the following points have been checked and you have a good impression of the company then go ahead. If you aren’t entirely satisfied with the company however, it could be best to stop, find a retailer that is well-known and buy there instead even if it means paying more. Discount shops may be set up to trick those who are willing to risk it for a marginal saving or a deal that’s too good to be true. Use your head and don’t risk your cash until you are positive that you are happy with the company.
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