Q. I think it’s time to upgrade my TV with the Super Bowl coming this week. My question is whether it’s safe to buy one online from Amazon? Will it arrive in one piece, if you know what I mean? And do you think it would arrive in time for the game? — Candy, Denver.
Candy, let me take the second question first.
If you order a ‘Prime eligible’ TV from Amazon.com — and you have a Prime membership — the odds are good that it will arrive in the next 2-3 days. (For example, check out this Sony TV at Amazon which the etailer today guarantees a free delivery by Wednesday.) On each set at the site, you can see if the TV is ‘Prime’ and then determine the delivery date.
If there’s a TV at Amazon that won’t be delivered on time — or you don’t have a Prime membership — you can try ordering it from Walmart.com which offers shipping to your closest store where you can pick it up. Check out this Walmart page for more information.
Now to your first question.
Some TV shoppers prefer to buy a TV at a retail store because they think they will get a better deal and/or they fear an online purchase may not arrive without some kind of damage.
But is that true? Do retail stores offer bigger discounts? And do TVs purchased online often wind up at your doorstep cracked or defective?
Well, from my years of experience, I believe you can get better deals on TVs online; this is not true on every set, of course, but on many models. Web sites, like retail stores, have partnerships with manufacturers and third-party sellers which enable them to price many sets considerably lower than their counterparts.
In addition, a web site doesn’t have the overhead of a retail store, particularly a large chain. This also helps the site keep prices down.
(One note: Some retail stores will offer ‘same price’ guarantees. If you find a lower price online, the store will match it.)
Now on the issue of delivery: Many sites are aware some consumers are leery of ordering a TV through the mail so they offer special guarantees to ensure your set arrives in perfect working order. For example, most sets 55 inches or larger (and other large products) at Amazon come with an ‘”Enhanced Delivery” guarantee:
“When using Free Enhanced Delivery for TVs, the carrier will install the TV on its base (if applicable) and plug in the TV to ensure it’s working,” Amazon states at its site.
Amazon also strongly urges consumers to refuse delivery if the set is not 100 percent If it’s not, Amazon says you should immediately contact Amazon customer service before the delivery man leaves.
And if you have a problem with the set after delivery, Amazon offers 60-day free tech support on most sets.
“If you’ve purchased a television, home audio, tablet PC, coffee maker, projector or wearable technology product from Amazon and received it in the last 60 days, you may quality for free over the phone Tech support,” Amazon says, which also offers a liberal return policy.
Other sites also have generous policies for returns and delivery satisfaction.
I realize some people will always prefer buying in person, and there are advantages to that practice. But ordering a TV online is safe and can be less expensive than buying it at your local store.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann