So what do we do? Open that browser up and start shopping, and look how cheap you can get some things, what could be better?
Or maybe the question is what could be worse?
You may wonder, how can someone selling scuba equipment on the internet offer it cheaper than the dive shop you like to go to? Ever heard of gray market dealers? They are the dealers that are unable or unwilling to abide by the guidelines set forth by manufacturers and so are unauthorized by the manufacturer to sell their gear.
But wait, you say. How do they get and advertise the product if the dealer doesn’t allow it? Glad you asked. Sometimes they buy gear from other countries and import it to sell. Other times they buy manufacturer closeouts from another retailer.
With some things you purchase you likely don’t care where the retailer gets the product from. But your life saving equipment? The equipment you breathe air from at 70 feet underwater?
Gray market dealers are unauthorized to sell gear and cannot provide a manufacturer’s warranty card. That warranty card that we often leave sitting in the box untouched is what allows the manufacturer to register your product (which many manufacturers require now to make the warranty valid), and also allows the manufacturer to contact you should their be a safety recall or upgrade of your equipment.
I personally know of an instance where a dive computer was purchased through an internet dealer. When the computer needed service and the customer sent the computer back to the internet dealer, the computer had been discontinued, the dealer could no longer get any parts and the customer was left high and dry. Had the customer purchased through an authorized dealer, many manufacturers would have, when the computer was sent for service, replaced the computer free of charge with the upgraded model. So where was the money savings for the customer who then had to purchase a new computer?
Many of the largest scuba equipment manufacturers do not authorize the sale of their gear over the phone, internet or through any mail-order means. If you buy their product through these means you will not have the benefit of a full manufacturers warranty. These same manufacturers do though offer free parts for life when purchased through an authorized dealer. That alone can save you hundreds of dollars every year in service costs.
But let's be honest. One of the best reasons to shop at Bluewater Scuba is that you can come in and meet your friends and dive-buddies; look at, touch and try on equpiment you think about buying; try out your equipment in the pool before you take it to the open water; know that we will back anything we sell; and know that we are the only shop in the area where it is one stop for you the customer, get your gear, get your training, get in our on-site pool and plan your travel. Your business is important to us and we are continually looking for ways to improve. Have suggestions for us? Let us know, write a comment.
And hey, besides, if you come into Bluewater Scuba to buy your equipment, not only do you know you are getting some of the best scuba equipment on the market, fully covered by the manufacturer’s warranty but you’re also shopping locally, supporting local small business. And even better that that -- you also get to see Kevin’s smiling face, an added bonus!
Have you ever ordered anything online that later caused problems for you Tell us your story in the comments.