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I first actually used this store when I was looking for a laptop computer. I had known about it (through YOUATWORK, a discount shopping club) but had never actually bothered with it becasue I do generally like to see products before I buy them.
However, in this instance I knew what I was looking for because I had trawled round the PC stores looking and had not been impressed by the customer service I was getting. I knew what spec I wanted so I thought it wouldn't hurt to go online and see what EMPIREDIRECT offered.
Their website is www.empiredirect.co.uk
The opening page is bright and breezy, and you can log in (after registering with them) so that you can get special offers and they know more about you -and you can track your orders etc. The registration process is quick and easy and doesn't involve too much detail. There is a list of electrical goodies that you might want to buy down the left hand side. These are: televisions, DVD, VCRs, Home theatres, TV combis
camcorders, cameras and photo printers
HI fi systems,separates, portable audio and MP3 players
PCs and laptops, organisers/ PDAs, gaming, photo printers
washers and dryers, dishwashers,freezers, fridges, vacuum cleaners, microwaves,cookers, other applicances
mobile phones, telephones, fax machines, ringtones
gifts and gadgets
health pnd personal care
and CLEARANCE items..some good bargains in this part of the site- even cheaper than their normal very low prices! I recommend that you really do go and have a look in this place for some extraordinary bargains!
WIthin each of the categories there are several choices and you can compare the specifications that the different brands have by clickingin the "compare" box for more than 1 item..and then the details come up on the screen. Certainly helps you to make a choice if you know exactly what you want in an electrical item. It really helped me in the laptop search!
Their HOT OFFERS are something special. You can buy the same items in the Empire electricals store but they are nowhere near as cheap. I suppose that this is because Empiredirect is based in a warehouse and there are not many staff to pay! Some people do like to go and see the item before they part with the readies, but for about 30% cheaper, I am not bothered (provided I know what the item is going to look like anyway!)
As to the laptop purchase. Well, I made sure they had one in stock .You can do this by clicking on the item you want to buy and it tells you whether they have any. Nothing so annoying as knowing what you want and getting excited by the prospect of having it and then not being able to get it becasue they are "out of stock". I really like this feature of the site.
Some items are only available for being delivered and can't be collected but you will see this if you add your item to your basket. It is very clear what method is available for you. Delivery is not cheap if you can't collect, but sometimes that's what is needed. Eg a laptop would have been 20 pounds to be delivered to my house. I live fairly near to Bradford anyway and I went to collect it myself. (living in the middle of nowhere I have never been lucky with getting stuff delivered, no matter who tries to deliver, except for the post office!)
I ordered my laptop on the telephone. The man on the other end of the telephone was very helpful and took my details and told me that I could collect the laptop the next day, once the credit card details had been verified. (I phoned an a saturday afternoon) I then went to the distribution depot/warehouse in Bradford to collect it. You turn up and have to have some photo identification with you , such as a passport/ driving license. And the order number and item description. You show it to the person behind the counter who has the copy order there already, someone goes into the warehouse and gets your item and brings it out to you! Bingo. It took about 20 minutes, that's all. When I ordered my widescrreen television, the chap in t he warehouse took it out to my car for me and put it into the back! My son helped -it was very heavy and the guys there were really kind to me!
If you do the purchase on the website rather than on the telephone (which you can do) then again the process is simple.
When you have finished Shopping, checkout is very easy - a three stage process where you provide Personal Details, Delivery Details and Payment Details. If you are already a member , this is filled in for you! You can use most visa cards etc to pay with.
Returns and refunds policy-if you change your mind. You can if you want to. (but I have never used this becaue I've always been 100% satisfied with my purchases!!
You do have the right to cancel your order within 7 days from delivery. You must notify them by phone of your intention to cancel within 7 days from delivery. After notification they will issue you a returns notification number that you must quote on the paperwork when returning the goods. Goods must be returned 'AS SOLD' in the original packaging with all components and accessories. Goods must be complete, unused, and in 'AS NEW' condition (eg if you have opened the box to examine the product it must have been done so without damaging the box and packaging or damaging the product in any way) and must be re-packaged as received. Goods must be returned to their Returns Department within 14 days from authorisation. They can't accept returns of un-wanted and non-faulty items after the 14 days. Television stands must not have been opened from their original packaging. Any 'FREE GIFTS' with the products must also be returned.
I now would never buy anything electrical without looking on this website first. I have never been disappointed with their prices or range of goods, and they tend to have more in stock than your normal shops like Curry's and comet- and genuinely want to help and have your custom. WHich is somethign I think some shops have lost! And all of the things they sell are reputable well known brands.
That's it- give it a go and I bet you won't be sorry!