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Tips for Buying Your Recorder Online

Tips for Buying Your Recorder Online

Most of us are familiar with the advantages of buying locally—immediate gratification and easier returns for defective hardware—but you're practically guaranteed to get a better price by buying your new drive online. I'll end this appendix with the top four tips I provide my readers when they ask about buying a drive online.

  • Be cautious about buying refurbished hardware. I know that refurbished—read that as “used and repaired”—hardware is very inexpensive, compared with the same hardware bought new, but make sure you check the return policy for a refurbished recorder, and buy refurbished components only from a reputable company. You have no idea what broke the first time, and you'll be taking a chance if you can't return a “lemon” that looked like a good deal.

  • Compare prices before you buy. This sounds like a given, but many folks buy from the very first Web site they visit (or from a site with a name they recognize). Don't get me wrong—building an ongoing relationship with a Web store you trust is a good thing, and I have a number of favorite stores that I always visit—but would you buy something locally without checking other stores for their prices? The same holds true online; for example, I recently saved myself over $100 by doing 20 minutes of comparison pricing on a new computer. As a starting point, I heartily recommend www.pricewatch.com, where you can search for a specific drive and see at a glance the range of prices available from popular Web stores.

  • Don't buy online without a secure connection. The chance of a hacker obtaining your credit card number and personal information is relatively slight, but it is certainly possible. Therefore, I buy only from stores that offer a secure, encrypted connection. When information is encrypted, a hacker has a much harder time intercepting your data as it's being transmitted to the Web site. Both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator tell you whether a site has an encrypted (or secure) connection: Check to make sure that your browser is displaying a closed padlock icon on the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If the connection isn't secure and you're being prompted for your credit card number or personal information, find another store!

  • Avoid high shipping costs. Many online stores now default to hideously expensive next-day or overnight shipping for your drive—usually, you can save up to half of those shipping expenses if you wait a day or two more for your recorder and pick ground shipping! Pay close attention to what you're paying before you click the Buy button.


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