There was a time when the only way to buy a descent computer system was to order one directly from the OEM’s. Dell, Gateway among others, were the sole proprietors of the online computer business. This usually required a call to a sales representative who would take your order, and also try to steer the consumer over to a more expensive model. Since the representatives were paid a commission on the sale, the more expensive the unit, the more they made.  I recall as little as 5 years ago, clients inquiring about a Dell system, were advised to call Dell direct or hop online to place the their order.

Today, most of the major retail outlets such as Best Buy,  Circuit City, Wal-Mart and so on, carry pre-configured systems that the consumer can buy direct. For the most part a consumer can purchase a fairly decent system at a reasonable price, especially when a unit is on sale. But there are sevral problems that have surfaced recently that makes one wonder if these purchases are the right way to go.

Take Dell as an example. Best Buy now carries the Dell laptop and desktop systems. But buyers must be aware that even though a system may carry the Dell name and logo, it is Best Buy’s Geek Squad that provides the service for warranty repairs. Though a consumer may call Dell for extremely limited support, I believe that is only for about 5 minutes, while the bulk of technical support must be by the Geek Squad.

Most of us are also aware that if you buy a system from Dell and get a businesses model, you get stateside technical support and if you qualify, on site repairs.

FWIW – Gateway will be only selling on the retail market.

Which brings up a question I have. Do you think it is a good idea to buy a system from one of the retailers, or is it better to still buy direct?

Comments welcome.