The risks of buying plumbing and electrical parts online


The world of retail has changed forever with the increasing choice of online shopping options. People who prefer to shop online rather than visiting their local brick-and-mortar retail stores often cite convenience, choice and price as the top reasons they choose to shop online. However, there are risks associated with online shopping, and this is especially true when it comes to purchasing your plumbing and electrical parts and products.

“Buyers beware. That’s what we tell people,” said Gord Crowle, co-owner of the two family-run NEPSCO Electrical and Plumbing Supply sites. “If you’re shopping online, it’s a great resource, but shoppers should be wary. Do your research first.”

According to Crowle, the Internet is an enticing place to shop because it offers wide access to thousands of parts and products. However, verifying the quality of these products poses a major problem; It’s the manufacturers themselves who often post product reviews that convince people that what they’re buying is worth the money. By the time the product is shipped or installed, it is too late.

“It’s a big problem in the industry, especially when it comes to purchasing electrical and plumbing parts and components,” Crowle said. “It looks like a great deal online, but you don’t really know what you’re getting unless you’re in retail. Online marketing can be very dishonest. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t come here with something they bought online. The reviews have been great but can’t get the parts to plug it in, parts are missing or it doesn’t work properly.”

To avoid such disappointment and inconvenience, Crowle suggests that people who need electrical parts or plumbing fixtures take one of two steps; Either get advice on what to buy from a retailer or visit local stores like NEPSCO to speak to experts who can point you in the right direction before you spend your money.

“The other day a lady came here who bought a lamp on Amazon. She was looking for a part because it was broken. What people don’t realize is that it’s not like having a choice when buying car tires. When you buy a light, the parts are made for that light. That’s why it looks different. She is looking for parts but cannot get them. You will not be able to find this part as it is specific to this device. If you come to NEPSCO we can keep you in the Canadian market or direct you to domestic products instead of overseas products that are here today and gone tomorrow.”

Crowle said there was a misconception that electrical and plumbing parts could be bought cheaper online. Even if the prices are cheaper, people should pay attention to the quality of the product, especially when installing electrical components and plumbing parts.

“Prices online aren’t usually that great,” he said. “People aren’t buying enough either. You go to a retailer and find a good price. This retailer may not even be an authorized dealer of this product. We keep coming across this on some online sites. If you buy locally it might cost a little more, but you get a nicer device and you’re giving your money to someone you can trust and who will give you a guarantee.”

Another problem with buying plumbing and electrical parts online is the possibility of future problems.

“Eventually you’re going to need parts,” Crowle said. “I had a guy here the other day who bought a shower kit. It looked good in the picture online. He brought it home and installed it, but couldn’t connect the valve due to missing parts. It is better to get advice from someone who knows about these products before you buy them. It is good to consult an expert.”

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