Tips for wary log furniture buyers
By Mike Messer
Choosing a log furniture dealer can often be a difficult task. Log furniture is a niche market and not as readily available as conventional furniture. This poses a bit of a dilemma. The discerning shopper has to either drive quite a distance to visit a showroom or be at the mercy of a company with a website and hope the information they give you is accurate and honest. Ordering furniture sight unseen can be a very apprehensive experience to say the least - that is unless you know what to look for. How can you know the company you want to do business with is going to give you good service? We have some valuable tips for avoiding an internet shopper's nightmare.
First of all find out how long a company has been in business. Nowadays, a website can be thrown up in a day. All businesses go through a learning curve until they "get it right". It is you who they will be learning on - mistakes and all! The easy way to check out a business is to go to Dunn & Bradstreet at http://www.dnb.com/us/ and look up the company. You will find valuable information about how long they have been in business, how many employees they have, etc.
Another way to check out a company is to contact the Better Business Bureau and see if they are a member. The Better Business Bureau keeps records of customer grievances with the company and makes this information available to the public. Participating companies may have a link on their website for you to click on. They can also be found at http://www.bbb.org/.
A plus when deciding on which business will win your favor is to make sure the business has a real live storefront. As mentioned before, anyone can put up a website. Someone with a real brick and mortar store is in there for the long haul. A physical address is important and one should be wary of a business without one. Drop shipping is common and many people run businesses without ever seeing or touching the merchandise, which means less quality control.
Always, always, always, check to make sure that the site is secure when ordering online. An easy way to tell is to look for the little yellow padlock in the lower right corner of the page when you proceed to check out. This will minimize the possibility of digital theft of your personal information. There are various companies who offer secure certificates such as Thawte and VeriSign. These companies will have logos present on the website and allow you to verify its authenticity by just clicking on the logo.
Any good log furniture dealer will offer some kind of warranty on the products they sell. The length and terms will vary but it should be spelled out plainly. You do not want to find out that when your furniture shows up at your door defective, it's too bad, so sad; it's your problem. We have been known to replace parts the customer broke 2 years after the purchase just to go the extra mile and offer good service.
Lastly are testimonials. The best recommendation is a good testimonial. We use ones that customers have sent in to us and are genuine. But let's face it; anyone can write anything they want and how are you going to prove whether they are real or made up? The only way around this one it if the company will provide you with names and contact information and hope it isn't a close friend, or family member willing to say everything you want to hear. Be careful when weighing testimonials.
There are good log furniture dealers out there and careful examination will offer great rewards to the observant buyer.
Copyright 2005 Great Lakes Rustics LLC
About The Author
Mike Messer and business partner Dave Kondek have a successful business designing, building, and selling log furniture in the Continental US, Alaska, and Canada. Permission is granted to reprint this article, either online or in written publications, as long as a link address to the Great Lakes Rustics LLC website is contained therein. http://www.glrustics.com.
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