Buying a new TV
July 2, 2014 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for a new TV. A TV on is actually sold through, which is apparently the same thing as Is this situation weird?

I'm looking for a new flatscreen smart TV over 40 inches and under $500. Maybe tricky specs, but this actually seems doable. For example...

This TV seems to be perfect... maybe too good to be true? It seems to be much cheaper for its cost than other similar TVs. However, it's the one that's not actually sold on Bestbuy but through which leads me to Rakuten.

I think I've heard of, but not Rakuten. Is this reputable?

BestBuy tells me items sold through their Marketplace:

"are sold and shipped by Best Buy-approved third party retailers using our secure checkout; your credit card information stays with Best Buy
are not available in Best Buy stores
can only be returned to the Marketplace Seller"

This slightly worries me... what if it arrives broken, perhaps, and I'm unable to return the TV because the company is shady? The seller reviews give it 4.29 out of 5, which is good... but then if you look at all of the one-star reviews, you seem to get very many people with very serious issues...
posted by lewedswiver to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Rakuten is the company that bought

While they are a legitimate company, and it is unlikely the pricing or offer is a scam, there have been many customer complaints and security issues reported when dealing with them. You are correct that a return is likely to be far more difficult than visiting your local Best Buy. Caveat emptor.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 7:52 PM on July 2, 2014

This is what Costco is perfect for. This purchase will be worth the 50something membership fee.
posted by beccaj at 7:55 PM on July 2, 2014 [8 favorites] has been around for a long time. When they started, their main claim to fame was 1. all their books were priced 10% under Amazon and 2. they weren't in Washington so I could order from them without paying sales tax. Also 3. they had free shipping on orders over $25 like Amazon. A substantial portion of my physical library came from

You can read more about their history here, including their acquisition by Rakuten. They're a reputable company and I still order from them from time to time. However, I'd never buy a TV from them (or any online seller) unless I was certain exactly what TV I wanted.
posted by kindall at 7:56 PM on July 2, 2014

Risking that this is too off-topic, but here it goes - for an insightful website with reviews of gear, but not re-sellers, The Wirecutter
posted by nostrada at 8:16 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

The situation isn't weird. All the retailers and e-tailers are finding it challenging, and you'll often find selling on eBay, or perhaps on Amazon, or, etc. It does seem to be designed to discourage returns though.

If you proceed with the purchase, I suggest that you arrange for the item to be delivered "Signature Required". You can tell them that packages go missing in your neighborhood all the time, even if that's not true - it will usually cause a merchant to take the extra steps to make that happen.

The reason you want to do that is because you do not want your item to be delivered, unseen by you, by a random shipping company whose driver merely slows down enough to throw packages at doors as he rolls on by. Getting a signature requires the driver to actually allow you a chance to inspect (and potentially reject) the package if there's damage.

This also doesn't address the situation where the unit is undamaged but also nonfunctional, a sad possibility in this tech era.

You have to determine whether or not it is worth the frustration and expense of boxing it back up and shipping it back to them.
posted by jgreco at 8:27 PM on July 2, 2014

Wirecutter, as mentioned above, have chosen this as their best sub $500 tv. It is a plasma rather than an LCD model (but that, they explain at length, should give you a better image for your money). Also Samsung have just announced they will be ending plasma TV production in November - so you should be able to find retailers discounting these otherwise good products. Might be worth considering.
posted by rongorongo at 2:42 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rakuten is basically Japanese Amazon. I've ordered things from them in Japan and never had a problem. They maintain Japanese corporate quality. I would say buying direct from Rakuten, would be very safe.

But Rakuten through two intermediaries, I'm not so sure about. There's a lot of places for that to go wrong.
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:47 AM on July 3, 2014

I bought a used laptop through Rakuten recently. Chose the company which would actually sell me the machine on the Rakuten web sight. Computer arrived and I'm happy with it but no actual invoice was enclosed and the return address was yet another company so I'm unsure how I would proceed if I needed to return it.
posted by Rash at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2014

I could be wrong, but my impression is that Philips in the US is more of a repackager of random Chinese OEMs (much like RCA) than it is a manufacturer. If you aren't particularly picky about image quality, and your only interactions with the TV are going to be turning it on and maybe changing the volume, that will be fine.

If you use the TV to receive signals directly (no cable box), or are moderately picky about picture quality and interaction, pick a name brand Asian manufacturer (my experience is that Panasonic is good at this, and Samsung is at least competent).

As for making a triply intermediates purchase? I'd do it with Amazon - they are well known to have very consumer friendly policies. Best Buy? Even though I have family that has worked there for years, I can't shake the impression that they're just a bit sleazy.
posted by wotsac at 1:07 PM on July 3, 2014

Discussion about Rakuten . . . not looking good. YMMV
posted by nostrada at 2:10 PM on July 3, 2014

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