The Better Business Bureau suggests that you follow these guidelines when shopping for a computer:
* Keep in mind that you may not be able to visit the physical
location of the company, meaning telephoneor e-mail contact may
be your only resources for resolving problems.
* Make a note of the exact type and quantity of merchandise
ordered, and when orders are shipped, get the tracking number
from the company so that you can keep tabs on the package
* Be aware that some companies offer a limited - and strictly
enforced - return policy, often 30 days or less, and that
transportation time for repairs will use much or all of that
time. * If your computer comes with a warranty, get all the terms
before purchasing. What time frame is offered? How will service
be performed - will it be on-site or, will you need to return
the system to the dealer for repairs? Also be aware that many
warranties are invalidated if someone other than the authorized
repair facility attempts to fix the system - this includes you.
* Be aware that restocking fees and shipping charges are
frequently assessed, no matter what the company representatives
* Be leery of companies that ship computers without providing the
software documentation. This may be a clue that you have
received a computer with pirated software.
* When your purchase arrives, check it thoroughly to ensure you
have received everything you ordered. Is the modem operating at
the speed you expect? Did you receive all the memory you
ordered? Is the hard drive the right size? You may check these
specifics by selecting the "My Computer" and "Control Panel"
icon. In an adjoining window called "Device Manager",
you can confirm that the properties are what you
* Report any problems to the dealer immediately. Document the
entire repair history and costs.