The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Buying on the internet is a wonder.
If you’ve regularly followed news of online trends you’ve likely encountered criticism of online reviews.
It’s been reported they’re faked. Evidence of negative reviews from competitors have spawned an entire industry in reputation management.
If a bad review contains pictures of damage, such as to an appliance, that lends credibility. And I found a few while researching a product.
In more than a few negative ones, cosmetic complaints were by far the milder issues experienced. With no personal assessment purchase is essentially on faith.
Several were directed to the delivery process.
For example, in this wonderful world of instant communication, a prearranged time for a refrigerator delivery changed merely by text message which, regardless of how close to the original schedule it was sent, was missed. Then, no one was there to receive it.
Others expected the refrigerator delivered to the kitchen.
Apparently this doesn’t jibe with the policy of some companies. They might not unpackage the item nor enter the premises if it fails to fit through the entrance.
This leaves one with a large box in front of the house, in an unverified condition (i.e. the extent of damage is unknown).
And last but not least, return policy.
A dealer may offer a (substantial) discount to accept the delivery. (Umm…no thanks!)
Or they may require repackaging the refrigerator as a condition to return it.
Imagine having to pack a refrigerator on your front porch piecing Styrofoam padding together and reconstructing the box.
I’ve not done exhaustive investigation in this area, but what I found so far is these delivery companies are contractors. Third party involvement can add a certain “je ne sais quoi.”
What constitutes a proper delivery in my opinion:
- Arrives within the timeframe expected
- Item is unpacked by delivery person(s)
- Transported to premises in desired location
- Quick, no delicate maneuvering
- Inspection allowed prior to acceptance
Delivery is not an easy job and delivery persons may be constrained by company policy, but if a service is offered it should be comprehensive and treat customer satisfaction as the ultimate goal.
Providers of a product as a source or middleperson, generate goodwill at the very least from a proper delivery. If selling through a channel like Amazon, be aware of the third party phenomenon.
It seems experience is varied by state as much as by vendor. Best recommendation is to search “[provider] appliance delivery reviews” and draw your own conclusions. Include local stores in the search.
Obviously it pays to know as much as possible in advance about the return policy and I hope this article has helped.
Sources: online research and anecdote