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The risks of buying plumbing and electrical parts online

NEPSCO offers faster delivery and better prices

The world of retail has been forever changed by the proliferation of online shopping choices. People who gravitate toward the internet to do their shopping rather than visiting their local bricks and mortar retail locations often site convenience, selection, and price as the primary reasons why they choose to shop online. However, online shopping does come with risks, and that’s especially true when it comes to purchasing your plumbing and electrical parts and products.

“Buyer beware. That’s what we tell people,” said Gord Crowle, one of the owners of the two family-operated locations of NEPSCO Electrical and Plumbing Supply. “When you buy online it’s a great resource, but buyer beware. Do your research first.”

According to Crowle, the internet is an enticing place to shop given the broad access it offers to thousands of parts and products. However, verifying the quality of those products is a major problem; it’s the manufacturers themselves who often post product reviews that convince people what they are buying is worth the money. By the time the product gets shipped or installed it’s too late.

“That’s a big problem in the industry, especially when shopping for electrical and plumbing parts and components,” said Crowle. “It looks like a great deal online but you don’t really know what you’re getting if you’re not in the trade. Online marketing can be very dishonest. There isn’t a day goes by that someone doesn’t walk in here with something they bought online. The reviews were great, but they can’t get the parts to hook it up, it’s missing parts, or it doesn’t work properly.”

To avoid such disappointment and inconvenience, Crowle suggests that people in need of electrical parts or plumbing fixtures take one of two steps; either consult a tradesperson for advice on what to buy, or to visit local shops like NEPSCO to speak with experts who can steer you in the right direction before spending your money.

“I had a lady come in here the other day who bought a light on Amazon. She was looking for a part because it came broken. People don’t realize it’s not like buying tires for your car where you have a selection. When you buy a light fixture, the parts are made for that fixture. That’s why it looks different. She’s looking for parts but can’t get them. She’s not going to be able to find that part because that part is specific to that fixture. If you come into NEPSCO, we can keep you in the Canadian market or lead you to domestic products rather than overseas products that are here today gone tomorrow.”

Crowle said it’s a misconception that electrical and plumbing parts can be purchased cheaper online. Even if prices are cheaper, it’s the quality of the product people should be concerned about, especially when installing electrical components and plumbing parts.

“The prices online are not usually that great,’ he said. “People don’t shop around enough either. They go to one retailer and find a good price. That retailer might not even be an authorized dealer of that product. We run into that all the time with some online sites. If you shop local it might cost a little more but you’ll be getting a nicer fixture, you’ll be giving your money to someone you can trust and who’s going to give you a warranty.”

Another issue with buying plumbing and electrical parts online is the potential for problems in the future.

“Down the road, you’re going to need parts,” said Crowle. “I had a guy in here the other day who bought a shower kit. It looked nice in the picture online. He got it home and installed it but couldn’t get the valve hooked up because it was missing parts. You’re better off consulting with someone who knows these products before you buy. It’s good to consult with an expert.”

For top quality plumbing and electrical supplies, expert service, great prices and Canadian made products, visit the NEPSCO location at 74 Black Road. Or visit them online here.