There are many tricks LED retailers are using to convince you to buy their products, but here i list the main 5 which should help you avoid the unethical companies and buy from reputable companies with quality products and service.
1) Customer Reviews
What ever you do, please do not take a companies own customer satisfaction score, published on their own website as a guide to the quality of that companies products and service. If a company truly has a good reputation, then this will be mirrored across several platforms, not just their own.
Companies own satisfaction scores can be highly manipulated, with negative and indifferent reviews never seeing the light of day and only positive reviews being published. Quite often negative reviews can be filtered out by being subjected to an ‘arbitration’ or ‘mediation’ process, effectively making the customer jump through a lot of hoops in order to get their negative review to disappear, ultimately providing the company with an exceptionally high customer satisfaction rating they do not deserve.
Of course no platform is completely free of fake reviews or attempted manipulation, but overall I find that Trustpilot is the best platform with which to research a companies true reputation because Trustpilot take the power away from the company and puts it firmly in the hands of the consumer. So if a negative review for a company goes up on Trustpilot and that customer has an order number from the company in question, that review gets published and stays published. Which means all genuine reviews; negative, indifferent and positive go towards providing the company with an accurate and fair overall reputation.
For instance you might find a company with an exceptionally high customer satisfaction rating of over 90% published on their own website, but search for the same company on Trustpilot and 50% of all reviews for the same company are 1 out of 5.
So before you make a purchase with any retailer, make sure you look them up on multiple review platforms including trustpilot.co.uk.
2) Guarantees and Warranties
A lot of online LED retailers are advertising “Free 5 Year warranties on all products”. So when you purchase a product from them you might think you have a 5-year warranty backing up your purchase, giving you complete piece of mind. Well unfortunately more often than not you are not getting a 5-year warranty at all. What you are actually getting is a bog standard 1 or 2 year warranty and to qualify for the free EXTENDED 5 year warranty you need to complete a form they don’t tell you about that can’t be be found easily on their website.
It’s quite a simple yet effective trick designed to lure customers in with the promise of an impressive warranty that the vast majority of the time they don’t have to provide. If they actually wanted to offer a 5 year warranty, then they would, they’d make it come as standard on purchase.
So make sure you read all the terms and conditions so you fully understand what warranty you are getting with a purchase.
We all love a bargain don’t we? I know I do, when you see something you want to buy at a discounted price, you get very excited about the amount of money you have saved yourself. Well guess what, LED retailers know this to, so what do they do, they make sure you get what you want.
It’s been proven that we are far more likely to make an instant buying decision if the item we are looking at has been discounted heavily, so dishonest and unethical LED retailers are tapping into this mind set and creating the illusion of 20% or 30% off deals when really, customers are just paying the regular price with the margins the LED retailer set out to achieve
How this tactic works is that an LED retailer finds as cheap a product as they think they can get away with, places an over inflated margin of around 70-80% to create their RRP, and then immediately and relentlessly advertises it at 20-30% off, creating the illusion of a big discount. The reality is that these ‘sales’ or ‘discounts’ are nothing more than a marketing strategy conceived to manipulate and deceive customers.
It worries me how common this tactic has become in my industry.
The best way to avoid these dodgy deals is to sign up to the companies marketing e-mails and if, over the period of 4 weeks, they are constantly e-mailing you discount codes and offers, you know they are unlikely to be genuine offers.
Wouldn’t it be nicer if companies would just state their best prices on their website all year around and not bother with these type of deceptive tactics?
4) Perfect Halogen and Incandescent Replacements
Lots of companies advertise their LED Lamps as ‘perfect’ replacements for halogen and incandescent lamps and almost without exception their LED’s are not perfect replacements for traditional lamps.
Older style lamps are rightly being phased out due to their inefficiency, but what is not often reported is how incredibly these lamps in terms of quality of light and their ability to create a lovely warm ambient atmosphere – this is where virtually all LED’s come up short.
The Colour Rendering Index (CRI), is a measure, out of 100, that determines how accurately a light source will render the true colour of objects in your home. So it’s really about the quality of light the lamp produce. Halogen and incandescent lamps scored perfectly in this regard, 100 out of 100, so everything in your home will look it’s best under these lamps. So if an LED lamp is going to be a ‘perfect’ replacement for a halogen or incandescent, it needs to match or at least get close to it’s CRI score, which would be at least 95.
Here you can see the effect CRI can have;
If you look closely you’ll find most products on sale are either around 80 and some retailers don’t actually publish CRI figures at all, which doesn’t make sense to me, unless of course they don’t want to, for some reason!
5) Warm White
This is not a term that I like very much at all as it can be highly misleading. It’s supposed to describe a warm colour an LED will emit that’s very close to that of a halogen or incandescent, but quite often this is simply not the case.
Both the LED Spotlights in the image below are advertised as ‘warm white’, so you can see the issue. The top one isn’t warm at all, especially compared to the bottom product that has the optimum warm colour temperature of 2700k.
To make matters worse some online LED retailers chose not to publish the actual colour temperatures of any of their products on their website, instead they simply use warm white, natural white and cool white.
Some online LED retailers actually chose not to publish the actual colour temperature of their products at all and often you will fine they have several different colour temperatures that all come under the term ‘warm white’ – so you actually have no idea what you are buying until they arrive.
So if a company does not publish the actual colour temperatures of their LED Lamps, you don’t know what you are buying so avoid.
Here is a chart that shows you what colour temperatures you should be looking for;