Originally Posted by JimP
You basically have as options, buying from a brick and mortar store like Best Buy(probably the most expensive option), buying from a Forum sponser, and buying from somebody like Amazon which actually subdivides into it being a direct sale from Amazon or a sale from one of their associate merchants.
With each option, you have pros and cons.
Questions that should be asked are: When will it arrive, who will bring it in and set it up(many of us help if only one guy delivers the set if we're physically capable), if it arrives damaged what then and one other issue that I experienced that I don't see anyone else mentioning and that is what if there is a price drop the day after you order it..do you get benefit for the drop? On that last one, the forum sponser I purchased a plasma from didn't pass along the $500 price drop (the day after I ordered it) even though I have reason to believe that he was aware of it coming and said nothing. Had it been Amazon(purchase from Amazon and not one of their affiliates), I believe you can get credited with the price drop within so many days.
As far as loosing your money due to damage with any of these sellers, I think as long as you put it on your credit card, you're covered. One of the better known forum sponsers that we hear about a lot on this forum tried to burn me on a bad component a few years ago. My credit card company stepped in and got my money back. Don't just assume that all forum sponsers are golden and will act in your best interest. Just be sure that you put it on a credit card.
Ultimately, I think the biggest concern is that if your set arrives damaged that you're out your payment. Given that if you put it on your credit card, your downside risk is the same regardless who you purchase it from. Next question in my book, is what happens if there is a price drop within 30 days. That needs to be weighed against current price. If Amazon has it for the same price as a forum sponser and Amazon gives you a 30 day price protection and the sponser doesn't, then I'd go with Amazon.
Now I'll probably get flamed for not blindly supporting forum sponsers, but I say do support them. Just be sure to ask the right questions and be satisfied with the answers.
The 30 day price increase/decrease policy of Amazon is great and all but it doesn't benifit that many people. Sometimes it does.
I would not let that be a deciding factor in my choice becasue there is a possibility you won't benefit from it.
And when you receive the unit you need to inspect it on delivery. If they don't allow it then write "subject to inspection" when you sign for it. When I had my 6020 delivered from Robert, I wrote "subject to inspection" even though we plugged the TV up and verified there was video.
The speakers take a while to put on and some delivery guys won't wait that long for you to verify the sound works. Instead of asking the delivery guys to wait whie I attached the speaker system, I just wrote "subject to inspection" because I had not verified that the sound worked.
Writing "subject to inspection" keeps the shipping company liable for damages even after delivery.
If the set is damaged or won't power up then simply reject delivery. If you were not allowed to inspect, then call the forum sponsor (whichever one) and tell them your set doesn't work. More than likely they will expedite you a new set immediatly (Amazon does NOT do this). With Amazon, they have to recieve the bad unit back before they will send the replacement (which could take up to a week). And when they send the replacement, they WILL NOT expedite it to you. You have to wait the 1-2 weeks all over again. It took me almost 3 weeks to get the 1st replacement 6010 from amazon, Which turned out to be DOA also so I had to reject delivery again then wait almost a week for them to recieve the 2nd damaged set back, Only to be told that they were out of 6010 stock and I would be getting a refund (that took over 3 weeks for them to put back on my Credit card).
I went thru over a month and a half of crap with amazon only to get my money back. What a big waste of time that was. And all the time there were people here on AVS telling me to go with a forum sponsor but I didn't.
From what I was told by Robert @ ****************, You don't have to deal with all this mess with a forum sponsor. They expedite the replacement to you as soon as they find out that your set is DOA.
IMO it is the smarter move to deal with a company that specializes in shipping and customer service of large flat-panel televisions, than it is to deal with a company that sells everything under the sun like Amazon.