buyer beware

<font color="#FF0000">buyer beware</font>
"Caveat Emptor" (Latin for "Let the Buyer Beware") was an important warning in ancient Rome. Despite strong consumer protection laws, it's also good guidance today.

When you're shopping online, or in the physical world, compare with care. Beware of shipping costs that may be too good to be true.

One online phone equipment dealer brags about $1.95 shipping; but they charge $24.99 for a 25-foot handset cord. Our price is just $9, and we'll ship six of them for just $9. Whether you buy just one cord, or more than one, our total "delivered price" is much lower than theirs. Their cord has a one-year warranty. Our warranty is three years.

Their price for a shoulder rest is $26.99; our price is $9. Their price for a 7-foot line cord is $14.99; our price is $4. Their price for a phone jack is $14.99; our price is $5.

Sometimes the wheeling and dealing works in the other direction, especially in online auctions. We've seen phone cords offered with an opening bid just of a penny, but shipping costs $5; or the opening bid is $1.99 but shipping costs $29.99.

Be careful.

(prices noted on May 9 and May 14, 2008)