Online Buyer Beware: Shipping Prices

Conventional wisdom says that HDTV buyers will research their purchases online, but when it comes time to put cash on the barrelhead, they head for retailers at the local mall. I believe that a major factor in this is that they want one last chance to kick the tires before making their choice, and they want to be able to drive home right away with their purchase. (Or at least expect to get it delivered the next day.)

As they search the Web, however, these shoppers often come across some attractive prices from some online retailers. And more and more buyers are deciding to make their purchases online. This can be a great way to buy your HDTV, but be careful as there are some unexpected pitfalls to avoid.

One prime example is the matter of excessive shipping and handling charges. I found one source that was selling a Vizio GV42L 42″ LCD HDTV for an attractive price under $900. That certainly sounds like a deal, but then look at the shipping costs: $155. With a gross shipping weight of under 100 pounds, you could ship that from coast to coast by UPS for about half that price. But if you bought it locally, you wouldn’t pay any extra shipping costs at all. So be sure to add all the costs for an online purchase before you compare with the price at your local retailer.