As with most things you can buy very cheap white goods appliances online, often from people who have no physical shops at all. All the well known retailers have online stores but there are also many companies selling appliances online who you might not have heard of, and who don’t have any physical shops.
All retailers with physical stores are also selling appliances online, some very successfully, but a web site with no stores can often sell cheaper by having considerably less overheads. However, they sometimes don’t stock any appliances at all, and simply get the manufacturer to deliver it for you direct. This can work fine, especially if they are a very good price, but it’s not so good if something goes wrong with the delivery or the appliance goes faulty because you are essentially buying direct from the manufacturer via a third party. The third party is who you have a contract with, but the manufacturer is the one delivering the appliance.
If the appliance goes faulty within a short while and you want it replaced they usually have no one to send to look at it so they’ll ask you to contact the manufacturer. However, contrary to how it may feel you are not buying the appliance from the manufacturer, so they are not who you should be dealing with if you have a dispute about wanting the appliance replacing. Under UK consumer law it is the company you bought it from that you need to deal with. However, they are likely to tell you they can’t do anything until the manufacturer’s engineer has looked at it. This can cause delays and frustration.
To find out if a company is selling machines they already stock or if they just order from the manufacturer you need to look at their terms & conditions (TOC) where you will usually see reference to delivery by the manufacturer.
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