General Question

Cupcake's avatar

How would you decide whether to purchase a couch from the internet?

Asked by Cupcake (11885 points ) November 7th, 2010

How would you decide whether to purchase furniture (that you will likely use daily) from the internet without ever trying it out.

What factors would play into your decision-making process?

Personally, I have considered retail price, sale price, difference between retail and sale, online product reviews, online maker reviews… and I’m still undecided. What other variables would you consider?

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14 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I wouldn’t do it unless I was able to test out the same model in a store in person first. I’m very picky about what I find to be comfortable and I would hate to buy it and then not find it comfortable. If I knew for sure it was comfortable, I’d base my decision on the cost online compared to the cost in person and the warranty.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

With something that size there’s a lot more than sticker price to consider. You’ll have to pay someone for delivery, which has to be added to the sticker price. Then there’s going to be a move from your doorstep to your living room, which “delivery” (as in freight charges) won’t cover. If you’ve already got a couch, then you have to consider disposal (and moving out) of that item, too.

All of this is aside and apart from “how does it actually feel to my fanny?” and “are those colors on the monitor an accurate reproduction of what it really looks like?” I don’t buy new furniture often; I haven’t bought any yet off the internet, and I can’t imagine when I ever will… or even if I would.

MrItty's avatar

Pretty simply – I wouldn’t. A couch is one of those things that needs to be personally tried out before buying*, Why would you risk several years of being uncomfortable in your own living room simply to save a few bucks in the short term?

*other items in this category include cars and clothing

marinelife's avatar

For a couch, I would not purchase it without seeing it. There is too much danger of an odor problem. A dresser, maybe.

perspicacious's avatar

I bought a sofa/loveseat/chair brand new from an ebay seller. I had him send me a fabric swatch so I knew what I was getting as far as fabric. I knew the set was quality because of the brand. There was damage when it arrived and I didn’t accept that piece. It was replaced within about ten days. I ended up with a $2000 set for $1200 so I was happy.

If you are talking about a second hand sofa I would not commit or pay a dime until I actually saw it. In other words, it’s fine to find it online, but buy it locally.

Cupcake's avatar

@marinelife do you mean for a new couch, or a used one?

Jeruba's avatar

How much will the couch plus any applicable tax plus shipping add up to, and what will it take if you want to return it (for example, is an RMA required? is there a “restocking” fee? do you pay shipping both ways?), compared with a similar item available locally?

If you live where shopping options are plentiful, I can’t see why you’d chance it.

If you live in a remote place and you are more likely to get a satisfactory couch this way with less hassle, and are pretty much prepared to be happy with what you get, then it’s a good deal.

In any case, I wouldn’t buy a used one that way, if at all.

Cupcake's avatar

Good point, @Jeruba. I don’t think this particular offer is returnable, which really makes it even more undesirable.

Thanks @perspicacious. I was looking to see if we could find one locally to check the comfort for everyone in our home, but couldn’t find a local seller.

Cupcake's avatar

So factors mentioned so far include:
– new/used (it doesn’t look like anyone would buy used)
– sale price
– list price
– shipping
– whether return shipping is covered
– whether there is a restocking fee
– warranty
– return policy
– actual color (is a swatch available)
– whether there is a way to determine comfort
– brand reputation
– where you live (distance to shopping centers, easy shipping, etc.)

Does that cover it?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wouldn’t do it unless I tried the same items out in person and was using the internet for price and/or free delivery.

perg's avatar

@marinelife don’t forget bedbugs, too.

@Cupcake If we’re talking about buying new, I would want to see a lot of buyer reviews praising the item.

jerv's avatar

One I haven’t seen mentioned here is, “How easy will it be to move?”

A while back, my wife and I found this place that had good reviews, both on the furniture and as a company, and they could ship a couch anywhere for $59 with no handling fees. The return policy was decent enough too, so we decided to take the plunge.
Sure, we had to assemble it ourselves, but we can also disassemble it and move it in an ‘85 Corolla Sedan and still have enough room left over for other stuff.

Of course, that may not be a consideration for most people, but for those who move around a bit, it is an issue.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

jerv: I have ordered from the internet before because it’s cheaper to have delivery than to find the right vehicle to go get stuff myself. I have no problem tipping someone $10.00 deliver, unload and haul away big boxes or packaging.

downtide's avatar

I wouldn’t buy a couch without trying it out in a store first. However once I’d tried it, if I wasn’t ready to buy right away, I might order it online at a later date. For furniture that isn’t sat on or slept on, I would be hapy to order online without trying first.

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