There are about 100 major auto parts suppliers on the internet. This is not your local parts shop with a website, (there are thousands of them), this is the company that generates most of the sales on the web. Researching 100 sites before making a purchase is not my idea of how to start a great buying experience. So let me give you a few things to look for that will make your buying experience enjoyable and help you bypass sites that might not provide the best security or customer service.
At the Search Engine ( Google )
If you do a search on Google for car parts, keep this in mind. The ad that you see at the top and bottom of the right column is the Sponsored Link. The ad at the top is highlighted and the ad in the right column has a line below the page. This is to separate these ads from the rest of the ads on the page. What is the difference? Sponsored Links are advertisements from advertisers who are paid to be in that position. The rest of the ads are placed on page rank, which is another story. But in short, the most popular advertisers are the first, the next most popular is the next and so on. The first ad is a good place to start, then go down the pages one by one. I will try to stick with the first few pages if it will not take time. You also have to check some paid advertisements. They pay to be on the first page of Google so they want your business.
How Safe The Site Is
When you get to the advertiser’s site, the first thing to look for is how safe their site is. Scroll down to the bottom of their home page to see what type of security service they are using. You can see the VeriSign Seal. When you click on the seal, you get a pop-up window from VeriSign which will give you a security service that uses web views. Like, the SSL Certificate expiration date, if they use Encrypted Data Transmission and if the site owner has verified. VeriSign is a very popular and well-known security service, but there are others. McAfee Secure is another thing.
A Secure Website
Are they members of the Better Business Bureau? Have they been assessed or certified? It will be very rare to find a site with all this but, the more the better. The point is you want to make sure you are dealing with a secure website. You will give them your credit card, bank, and personal information, so check the security of their site, this is very important.
Next check their warranty. What is the warranty on their part? What is their return policy? Do they have free or discounted shipping? Is their check-out safe and how long does it take to get your share? What if you have a question, when is customer service available? It seems like there is a lot to look for before you even order, but it’s necessary. Every order is not perfect every time so you have to protect yourself and your wallet if there are problems.
Online Catalog Ordering System
Now you want to check their ordering system. Most automotive parts sites use the Online Catalog Ordering System. They are very easy to use. Some people will ask for the year of your vehicle, make it and model it and then you click the search button and a list of all parts available for your vehicle will appear. Others may ask you which part you are looking for first and then ask for your vehicle’s information. So make sure you have all the vehicle information needed. Your vehicle, year, model and engine size, must match what you need. You can get most of this information from your registration. The size of your engine is on the information label in your engine compartment or is sometimes stamped on your air purifier or valve cover.
If you are not comfortable with the Online Catalog Ordering System, most of the leading sites will have 24/7 Telephone Booking where you can talk to real people. With online orders or telephone orders, you will get a confirmation number, keep this number in a safe place. Online orders must also provide you with a printable receipt. Don’t forget to print it.
Inspecting the Package of Shipping
When your part arrives, the first thing you do is inspect the package for shipping damage. Note the hole in the package or evidence that the package fell. If there is shipping damage, immediately report it to the shipping company. When you are ready to open the package, proceed with caution. If there is a problem and you need to return parts, you will need an original shipping package. So do not damage it. Also, check invoices or packing slips to make sure what you ordered is what you get.
Finally, keep all receipts, invoices and conformation numbers where you can find them. If you have a part that fails and must return it, you will have everything you need.