Shopping onLINE
Home improvement e-commerce is still in its infancy. Many products, such as windows, doors, cabinetry, countertops and large appliances, are not sold online. Of those that are available, the best buys are on sinks and faucets, toilets and tubs, lighting and decorative hardware, and especially on high-end products in these categories. As is the case when you buy from a catalog, you'll have to pay shipping charges for many online purchases. If you don't like something once it arrives, you will have to pay to ship it back. That can be expensive on something as large and fragile as a whirlpool tub. Often, special-order products are not returnable, or you have to pay a restocking fee in addition to return-shipping costs. Beware of sites that do not have secured systems to keep your credit card number safe. Even though you can't buy many things online, you can compare prices. While manufacturers' sites might not contain pricing information, other sites, like Brandwise.com and Productopia.com, do. So at least you have some idea of what products cost. You can also learn which product features are typical and which add to the cost of an item. For example, if you're looking for an appliance, in an hour you could visit most manufacturers' sites to see which brands interest you and request catalogs. Since it's often hard to shuttle between several sites or keep several sites open at once, comparing multiple features and products is still more easily done with catalogs. Once you narrow down your choices and determine if you can buy a product online and at what cost, go to a showroom. Bring your information with you. There you can check out the item, compare prices and haggle.
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