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Buying Furniture at Online Furniture Stores

chairThere are several reasons to buy furniture at online furniture stores. For one, furniture purchases have often been the source of consumer complaints.

Documented Policies

In order to obtain sales, online furniture stores have to provide a great deal of documentation. Written policies, terms and conditions pertaining to shipping, warranties, and customer service will usually be easy to access. As policies are in writing, online furniture stores are less likely to change the terms of your transaction. Links to company policies are typically found at the bottom of each web page.

No Pressure Salespeople

Consumers can take their time to research furniture requirements before making their choice. They don’t need to worry about being influenced by pressure salespeople. Too many customers complain that their furniture salesperson did not honor the promises they made to get the sale. Fulfillment of furniture orders is often handled by a different department or another company. Furniture salespeople don’t always have the facts.

Photographs Serve As Evidence

Consumers frequently complain that offline furniture stores deliver furniture that is different from the showroom model. Photos are an important factor in the online furniture sales process. With an online furniture store, your purchase is usually based on one or more photographs. Save each photo on your computer in case there is a problem with the furniture. Make sure the model name and serial number are included on the order form at checkout. You can also review the appearance of the specific model at the manufacturer’s website.

More Timely Deliveries

Consumers often complain about late deliveries from offline furniture stores. Furniture often arrives as much as one to two months later than salespeople suggest.

Online furniture stores will generally ship directly from the warehouse in a few days. You can easily check the written shipping policy for precise information.  Online furniture stores generally use third-party delivery companies. Make sure that you secure the name of the delivery company while you are in the ordering process, so you can check directly with the company if the delivery is late. A third-party delivery company makes it a little more difficult for the store to claim the furniture is in transit when it hasn’t shipped.

No Credit and Finance Traps

According to  consumeraffairs.com, furniture financing deals often break credit and loan regulations. The zero percent interest deal might not be to your advantage if it comes with huge penalty charges. You might find that the qualification requirements are just too high to get the low rate. Keep in mind that since the furniture store is making the loan, you’ve already paid before taking delivery of the furniture. If your furniture is defective or delivered too late, you may have a hard time canceling your order. For this reason, it’s always best to avoid paying with cash.

Online furniture stores generally do not offer financing. They simply accept credit cards. If a furniture store does not deliver the merchandise and will not resolve your complaint, your credit card issuer may be able to help with your dispute. And if the furniture arrives in bad shape, your credit card provider may also force a refund.

Better Business Bureau

Many consumers turn to the Better Business Bureau to file their complaints about a particular furniture store. However, if the store is not a member of the Better Business Bureau, the Bureau can do little to help. The Bureau primarily works to resolve disputes between consumers and its member businesses. The Better Business Bureau is not a government agency and can’t enforce judgments.

You can check for Better Business Bureau membership online. The store will display the BBBOnline logo prominently on the site and order page. Click on the logo to be taken to the BBB.org web page for the store to see if the store is a member in good standing. In the United States, With the BBBOnline ecommerce program, you can dispute a sale online without a visit to the local Better Business Bureau.

Tips for Purchasing at Online Furniture Stores

  • Save or print the web pages that describe the furniture you bought and the relevant policies and guarantees. Make sure you save confirmation pages and emails. If there is a dispute later on, you will have a strong basis to argue your case.
  • Make sure that you secure the model name and serial number of the product before you pay. Only order the furniture you want. If you order the wrong merchandise, you will have to pay for the return.
  • If you speak with a salesperson on the phone, make sure that your conversation supports your paper trail. Request the web address of the policy or a follow-up email outlining additional commitments.
  • Ask furniture contractors about the best online furniture stores for your needs.

If you’re too trusting and don’t review written policies or save receipts, you can still be scammed by an online furniture store. But you could also be taken in by an offline furniture store.

Online furniture stores make it much easier for the careful shopper to minimize undesirable purchases. The buying process is mainly in writing, straightforward and low-pressure.  In summary, while you should always be meticulous when buying furniture online, online furniture stores make careful research a lot easier.

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