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Computer Purchasing Tips - Direct from Manufacturer

written by: Jesma•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/15/2009

In Part 2 of this series on computer purchasing tips, we'll examine the pro's and con's of purchasing a computer directly from a computer manufacturer. Make sure that you're getting the most for your money.

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    When it comes time to buy a new computer, you may decide to save gas and order one directly from the manufacturer via phone or the internet. While this is by no means a bad choice, you stand to benefit by knowing the following pro's and con's before doing so.

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    Pros

    When you buy a computer online the details are readily available. Details, Details, Details

    One of the great things about ordering from a computer manufacturer is they, by no means, skimp on the details. They are looking to market to every kind of consumer out there, so whether all you know is that you "need a new one", or if you know you want a quad core CPU with a 8mb L2 cache, etc., the manufacturer is going to tell you everything you need to know in order to pick exactly what you need.

    Knowledgeable Customer Support

    Unlike in a retail store where a salesman may quite possibly know very little about the product he is trying to sell you, manufacturers provide customer support representatives that are extremely knowledgeable about their products. Their whole job is to help you understand what you are buying and get exactly what you need.

    Convenient

    Simply put, not having to leave your house during the whole process makes it incredibly convenient. So long as you don't mind not being able to put your hands on a product before handing over your credit card number, it doesn't get any more convenient than buying via phone or internet.

    Special Deals

    Because they build the PC's, the manufacturers can charge as little or as much as they see fit at any given time. This could very well work to your advantage. Reduced prices are often offered on select models or during certain times of the year. You may receive a discount simply for ordering online, or perhaps be able to score a free printer! (Hey, why not?)

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    Cons

    No "Hands On"

    It is understandable to want to see, feel, and use a computer before paying for it. Unfortunately, the phone and internet do not afford this luxury. The best you're going to get in this department is looking at pictures taken at angles that could make a mule look like a Clydesdale.

    Special Financing!

    Despite the happy exclamation point, this is not a good thing. When ordering from the manufacturer, you will likely be bombarded with numerous opportunities to have everything you want for under $30 a month. Want the bigger hard drive? Only an extra dollar per month! What they neglect to mention is that, should you accept this offer, you'll be paying that $30 until the day you die, and perhaps longer.

    Shipping and Handling

    This extra charge is a clear disadvantage. Computers are by no means light, and this extra charge should not be ignored when making your decision. My personal recommendation is to jump on free shipping opportunities, as it can save you a considerable amount of money.

    Long Waits

    After purchasing your computer by phone or online, you're going to want it right away, but you could be waiting as long as a month. If you made even the smallest customizations it could add weeks to the delivery date. You may be able to receive your computer within a week, but expect to wait 2-3, and do not be surprised if there are additional, unexpected delays.

Computer Purchasing Tips

Keeping up on the latest technology requires our constant attention. How do you know when you're getting the best deal? How do you know you're not getting scammed? How do you know what to buy and where to buy it? This four-part series is designed to answer these questions.
  1. Computer Purchasing Tips - Retail Store
  2. Computer Purchasing Tips - Direct from Manufacturer
  3. Computer Purchasing Tips - Custom PCs