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#7386 - 01/09/08 01:58 PM Confusion
Diveteach Offline
avid diver

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 5
I see all this Authorized Dealer - Unauthorized Dealer. Internet vs. Local Dive Shop stuff pretty much every place I look and every shop I visit.

Shops tell me to support them, but want more money and usually won't budge. I'm told if I buy online there is a good chance I won't get a warranty or any manufacturer support, but the pricing is often a lot better.

What is the real scoop?

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#7387 - 01/09/08 04:08 PM Re: Confusion [Re: Diveteach]
BobG Offline
veteran

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 424
Loc: Irvine, CA
Its actually quite easy. Of course your local dive shop is going to hope you support them just the same as your local grocery store, home improvement store or even gas station are going to hope you frequent them.

Where they start to get wrong is by lumping all internet retailers together. There are retailers online who are not authorized dealers of the gear they offer you. What this means to you is customer service and support. They cannot offer you the full support of the manufacturer. If the item you are purchasing comes normally with a lifetime warranty you are sacrificing the ability to get the item serviced or repaired under the terms of that warranty. This can be a big deal when you think about the annual service on a piece of gear. Take that to another extreme and look at the recall page on the Scuba.com site. Every manufacturer of scuba equipment has had some item or other recalled in the past 15 years. If you haven't purchased from an authorized dealer you have sacrificed your ability to get any repairs, alterations or upgrades for free under the terms of the warranty.

And then there is knowledge. We are proud of the fact that the LOWEST certification level you will ever call and discuss equipement with Scuba.com is an Instructor. On our active staff you have 3 Course Directors, a Master Scuba Diver Trainer and a Master Instructor and an Instructor Trainer. There are certifications from NAUI, PADI, SSI and TDI/SDI. Among us there is a Biologist, a commercial diver, a travel agent, former manufacturer's reps, and the former Technical Support Director for several manufacturers. We are from everywhere. Hawaii, Florida, the Mid-West, Caribbean, the Pacific North West, New England, and of course California with exprience in most of the rest of the world.

What does all that mean? Information. If you want help with a piece of gear, a destination, an idea, or an instructional path somebody here has your answers. I don't know of many dive shops anywhere that I've visited in the world who can claim all that. And yes, I've visited BOTH of the retailers who like to consider themselves our competition.

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#7388 - 04/08/08 09:46 AM Re: Confusion [Re: BobG]
esprocks Offline
avid diver

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 6
In my experience, it is best to buy "life dependent" equipment, i.e. tanks and regulators, from brick and mortar stores. That way you can physically see the exact piece you are buying, and often they will let you test it in a pool. Yes you pay a premium, but your life depends on it, it's worth it.
The one exception may be reputable sites like ebay where you can see ratings on sellers that can basically tell you if they are bogus or trustworthy. And ebay usually backs returns if there is definately something wrong. Also Amazon or such would be fine if you know exactly what you want.
In terms of other stuff like knives and fins, etc, that is fine to go online. In a reputable store (you can research on BBB) you will be able to return stuff, and none of it will put your life at risk underwater.
So bottom line, if it will cost your life, it is worth extra money to physically see and test the product. Otherwise, save the money and go online.

Good luck,
esprocks


Edited by Reggie (04/08/08 06:04 PM)

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#7389 - 04/08/08 06:25 PM Re: Confusion [Re: esprocks]
BobG Offline
veteran

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 424
Loc: Irvine, CA
In general it is always best to buy any of your gear from an authorized retailer. Just because a shop may have a website doesn't mean they aren't also your so-called "brick and mortar" store. And I may sound like I'm bragging a bit here, (because I am) but name a "brick and mortar" store that can boast among it's staff 3 current or former course directors, that the ONLY person you'll ever talk to about equipment is AT LEAST an Instructor, that has a staff with experience as a travel agent, a regional training rep for a major training agency, a former Technical Support Director for several manufacturers, former shop owners and managers, commercial divers, former manufacturer's reps for everything from technical gear to photography equipment every single day of the week?

You get that every single day you call Scuba.com. If somebody here does not have in-depth knowledge of the item or problem you have we don't have to go very far to find somebody on our staff who does.

So, you can choose to visit your "brick and mortar" store, and have the newly certified open water diver who thought working in a dive shop would be a cool way to pay for some new gear, or you can contact people who truely are Scuba Professionals in every sense of the word.

Bob

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