The title of this post says it all doesn’t it? Aren’t we all looking for low cost products? It doesn’t have to be scales it can be anything from computers to software to sports equipment or watches. We all want to find great products at the lowest price possible.
There is nothing wrong with this idea. I do this all the time and in fact many times I will buy a product simply because it got good reviews and it is a few bucks cheaper than a similar product. But I was reminded this week that you have to be careful when you are dealing with cheap items (mostly from China). Many times there is a reason why an item is cheaper.
In our business we deal with trade approved digital scales every day. Quite often we are asked for used retail scales. Of course they can be called other things like second hand or refurbished but basically this is code for hey, I’m looking for a super low cost set of digital scales, whatcha got?
The truth is that most of the scales we recommend are only available new. The cost of these items has actually gone down over the years to the point where you can get a really good set of produce scales easily under $300 (and some folks would argue under $200). The problem you run into with 2nd hand scales is what kind of abuse did the scales take from the original owner and why did the original owner decide to sell? But like I said most of the time you’re not going to find too many reconditioned price computing scales.
What I was reminded of this week is that many of these cheap chinese scales are being sold in the U.S. and there is no quality control in place at all. I am talking about everything from the scale itself all the way to the box and packing that the scale ships in. I ordered a scale for testing purposes and I could not believe the condition that this scale arrived in. It had no packing inside the cardboard box and the item was damaged. Now keep in mind this is a scale that had been getting great “feedback” on the auction sites but I can’t figure out how based on the way it arrived.
This experience reminded me of the importance of U.S. scale manufacturers and their role in your buying experience. Sure you can always find a cheaper scale on ebay or some website that nobody has ever heard of, but the savings you many find does not make up for the peace of mind that comes with buying a high quality product from a reputable distributor and the backing and warranty of a U.S. supplier that you can trust. If you don’t believe me, order a scale from one of these “other” sites and listen to your scale banging around inside the box with no packaging.