Am I being irrational?
December 31, 2010 6:05 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to buy a Panasonic TC-P42U2 plasma flat-panel TV (Amazon, Newegg) As you can see, buying from Newegg will cost me $100 more than buying from Amazon, yet I'm tempted to do just that since Newegg has an unimpeachable customer service record. Am I crazy?

Most people would probably say I'd be an idiot to willingly cough up an extra $100 for the same TV, but on the off chance that something breaks, I know for sure I can rely on Newegg to make it right, whereas I don't have that same gut feeling of reassurance with Amazon.

I basically just need a reality check here... Am I being too careful?
posted by aheckler to Technology (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, Amazon has a pretty awesome customer service record, too. I wouldn't be worried about ordering it from either.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:07 AM on December 31, 2010

I'd say Amazon has at least as good service. I'd save the $100 and go with them.
posted by The Lamplighter at 6:13 AM on December 31, 2010

I've happily paid extra for products where I know the retailer will do the right thing when there's trouble. Even when you're pretty sure nothing is ever going to happen, I think it's a good thing to support.
posted by DreamerFi at 6:14 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had fine experiences with Amazon, even when returning defective items, but maybe it is worth $100 if you feel more secure going with NewEgg.
posted by snofoam at 6:21 AM on December 31, 2010

Amazon's returns process has always been much easier than Newegg's for me. As far as I've ever been able to tell, the only reasons Newegg has the reputation it does are its very fast shipping and the fact that it puts much more (and more useful) detailed information and photos on its product pages than other sites. If you actually have to deal with customer service for any reason I have not found it to be that great.
posted by enn at 6:38 AM on December 31, 2010

Why don't you just e-mail Newegg and tell them this? "I want to buy this from you today because you guys rock, but... $100." See if they don't knock down the price.
posted by kmennie at 6:46 AM on December 31, 2010 [4 favorites]

There is no way that Amazon has the same quality of customer service as Newegg. I love the way you're thinking, for the reasons that oblio_one stated, and I would encourage you to go with Newegg for this large purchase.

kmennie might have a good idea too.. Although I'd probably make it a phone call rather than an email, myself..
posted by Glendale at 7:01 AM on December 31, 2010

I definitely 2nd kmennie' suggestion. Either email or call Newegg, because something nice may happen, and there is nothing to lose. In fact, that should have been your first move. Having said that, I don't think you can go wrong either way. ONE gigantic word of warning - be aware that you can not turn a plasma on it's side. Remember this when unpacking/installing it. Minor derail here - why plasma and not a newer LED? Don't get me wrong, I love my plasma. But for a small amount more, you can have newer, brighter technology, that is significantly lighter when it comes to mounting it on a wall. And no, I do not want to start a debate, with everyone adding their two cents on why one technology is clearly better, and I am such a douche for slagging on plasma etc... I just want to know why the original poster made his specific decision. Please, no epic derails.
posted by MJLavelle at 7:06 AM on December 31, 2010

I have used Amazon's returns process many times, and it was painless each time. So, yes, I think it is silly to pay NewEgg $100 more for the same time. It would be different if you were saving $100 by buying from NoName Camera and Video in Queens, NY.
posted by grouse at 7:10 AM on December 31, 2010

Response by poster: I just now sent Newegg an email asking about the price difference and if they might knock it down a bit, so we'll see how that goes over.

MJLavelle: I decided on plasma after reading a lot of reviews on Consumer Reports, Newegg, Amazon, etc. The biggest thing I am worried about is the relative brightness issue (since the room where the TV will go has a south-facing window). But I've been desperately needing newer, better curtains anyway, so that should not be an issue for long.
posted by aheckler at 7:20 AM on December 31, 2010

The only crazy part is not calling Newegg and trying to get them to match the lower price. Most places will do that. And even without price matching, I never order anything expensive without calling up and asking, very politely and low-pressure, "I just wanted to check that the price I'm seeing on your website is your best price." At least 3/4 of the time, and probably a lot more than that, the person says "oh, let me check... It looks like I can take $50 dollars off / offer free shipping / throw in these goodies."

If you don't ask, you don't get.

And having said all that, I'll always pay more for good service and low hassles. Cheap isn't always cheap. In this case you are comparing two places with good service, so I think you are ok either way. But in other cases, you'd be a fool to "save" $100 by buying from a place with crap return policies, rude service, or other issues.
posted by Forktine at 7:22 AM on December 31, 2010

If you use American Express and have access to, go through their portal to get 4x the points when you order from

Also, make sure you're factoring sales tax into the equation, if you're from a state that charges it... For me in New York, ordering from Newegg avoids sales tax, whereas Amazon charges it.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:14 AM on December 31, 2010

There is no way that Amazon has the same quality of customer service as Newegg.

I've had excellent no hassle return and replacement service from Amazon on books, clothing, and electronics. I've also had terrific service from Newegg, but I've never had to return anything to them. If they do match the price, I would get it from them on principle, but otherwise Amazon is just as good for service in my experience.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:24 AM on December 31, 2010

In addition to sales tax, it may also be worthwhile to consider restocking fees.
posted by box at 9:28 AM on December 31, 2010

I bought this set for $298 on Black Friday so I am definitely biased when I say go with Amazon (really, their customer service isn't that bad). Trying to get Newegg to price match is, however, definitely worth a go.

Derail: I think it's a great set (we have a 52" Samsung LCD in the living room and the picture quality on the Panasonic is as good, if not, better), but have you looked into the TC-P42S2? It's the exact same TV, except it has a slighter better display panel, as well as anti-glare coating. I don't have a glare problem personally (due to the location of the TV), but I have read a lot of complaining about glare on the TC-P42U2.
posted by eunoia at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2010

Response by poster: Newegg just emailed me back to say that, unfortunately, they cannot price match their competitors, or even reduce the price difference to within $40-$50. Bummer.

It looks like I'll be going with Amazon then. From what everyone said here I am a lot less nervous about that, so thanks all around!

eunoia: I looked into the TV you suggested. I don't know how I missed it before, but Amazon has it for the same price as the one I was originally intending to buy, so congrats on besting my (admittedly weak) bargain hunting skills. :)
posted by aheckler at 11:31 AM on December 31, 2010

FWIW, the anecdata from my experiences and that of my friends has been that NewEgg customer service sucks hard. Hassles and headaches galore. Conversely, I have NEVER had a problem with Amazon in the ten years I have been their customer.
posted by DWRoelands at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2010

YMMV, of course, but I had a great experience buying a large plasma TV from Amazon about a year and a half ago. I've not had any service issues, but the white glove delivery was great -- they brought it in, sat it on the floor in front of the wall I was going to mount it on, unpacked it, hooked it up and made sure it was working, then hauled off all of the packing material. All in about 10 minutes. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
posted by nonliteral at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2010

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