© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt
The Y2K supplies industry has grown up virtually overnight. Some
companies have been involved in the general preparedness industry for
years; others are only a few months old. From the consumer perspective,
it's the "wild, wild west." As a result, it's very easy to get
burned. Trust me: I've experienced it firsthand myself and personally
lost several thousand dollars.
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Several companies have gone out of business -- often without warning.
In fact, a few of the companies I recommended in "The Y2K Personal
Survival Guide" have
simply disappeared. Unfortunately, when they did, they took some
customers' money with them without fulfilling the order. The
worst part is that they have vanished without a trace. We haven't been
able to find them or get a response.
Therefore, I would like to offer a set of guidelines for purchasing
Y2K supplies. I strongly suggest that you follow them to the letter.
Before you order, call the company first. If the
company doesn't have a phone number, doesn't answer the phone, or won't
return your phone calls, this is a pretty good indication that you are
not dealing with a reputable, well-established supplier. No matter what
the advertised prices are, look elsewhere. Don't make any exceptions.
Ask for a delivery commitment. Some companies will tell
you anything to get your business. They know on the front end they can't
meet their delivery dates, but they also know that once your order is in
their system, it is unlikely that you will cancel if they are late.
Other companies are simply incompetent. They are guessing, hoping
against hope that they can deliver on time. Regardless, ask for a
commitment and write it down.
Don't send a check. Use a credit card instead. If you only
follow one rule, make it this one. If you send a check, and they cash
it, you have no recourse. They've got your money, and all you have is a
hope and prayer they will keep their promise. On the other hand, if
you've used a credit card, you can challenge the charge and get your
money back. The burden of proof is on the merchant.
Don't hesitate to cancel your order. If the supplier
doesn't meet his delivery commitment, cancel your order and find another
vendor. The longer the delay, the less likely you will be to ever
receive your order. This is the mistake I made. The continual delays
were a sign the business was in trouble. Rather than seeing this for
what it was, I kept extending grace, hoping that I wasn't being ripped
off. Unfortunately, that is exactly what was happening.
Just because a Y2K vendor agrees with your particular
perspective on Y2K doesn't mean he has your best interests at heart. He
will likely look after his own interests first. If you don't do the
same, there's a good chance no one else will.