Below image: If you want REALLY cheap hardware… you may as well be gambling with your money. I’m not saying the company below sells bad equipment… I’m saying that if something goes wrong it is doubtful they will lift a finger to help you based on their contradicting return policy alone. Notice how all the details that screw the buyer are crammed towards the bottom of the policy page… this isn’t even the whole thing. The point is, there is usually a reason why some places can sell their products cheaper: they cut customer service entirely and are probably funded through fees rather than profit from sales.

…and don’t get me started about companies that have the gall to charge $45/hr technician fees to examine your faulty product before sending a replacement, I can’t believe crap like that is legal.

Things I look for when I buy hardware online:

-1) BLATANTLY EASY to find company info. This is vital! If I can’t find the company’s info within ~10 seconds of going to their site, I leave no matter how good their deals or policies are.
-2) Reasonable return policy. Computer hardware from my experience can occasionally arrive DOA (dead-on-arrival)… I like some kind of insurance against this.
-3) Semi-decent website. It doesn’t have to be fancy… just organized, clean design, and easy to navigate. More importantly, products displayed have detailed information on their corresponding pages. I’ve been to sites that just give the name of the product and nothing else.
-4) And… if I’m buying a more pricey product, I actually call the company to test how responsive their customer service is or whether the phone number is actually legit. I’ve done this before only to find the phone number didn’t exist or directed to a different place or person. When I do this, I usually make a simple question such as “when I buy this, does it also come with the corresponding connectors?”. I know most products do… but I play dumb and see how they react.

I still have a portion of Damian’s donation that I haven’t spent yet, which is intended to purchase a new sata hard drive… I kind of put it off until now because my knowledge of computer hardware is so rusty. I’m going to be careful to make certain that the hardware I buy comes with all the cables needed, isn’t from a company known to hand out D.O.E products, has a fair return policy in case the product is faulted (sales are not “as-is”) and is compatible with my computer. I swear buying hardware was a much simpler affair 10 years ago… I suppose it was better than in my teenage years where internet was not yet affordable to the average person and everything I knew about computers came from trial-and-error.

…to put a long story short, I REALLY care about how donation money is used! I couldn’t live with myself if I spent donation funding towards shady fees and un-returnable broken products

UPDATE: I chipped in tiny bit of my own funding and ended up purchasing the hard drive (500GB) from geeks.com, their return policy seems fair enough, had good product descriptions, decently organized website and the price wasn’t too bad. It’ll take about 8-10 days to get here, but I’ll be really glad when I can finally move all my Delura project stuffs off my old drive… it works okay, but again the number of bad sectors on it concern me about the security of my data. Part of me wonders though if those bad sectors were caused by the power supply failure earlier this month… I have no way of knowing that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.