A great deal of Scuba equipment is available for purchase on the internet. Some is sold by factory authorized dealers, but most of it is not. Much of the equipment you see is from overseas sources and includes 'gray market' versions of products which appear to be the same as that sold by factory authorized dealers. These items may or may not contain true factory parts and often have 'different' parts than standard US.
Most dive shops are small local businesses run by the guy next door who is trying to provide a service to his/her customers because he/she has a love of diving. In many cases the prices on the internet are hard to beat and customers come in all the time to try something on only to order it on line for a few dollars cheaper. While we don't begrudge the customer for wanting to save money, the buyer truly needs to beware.
Equipment bought on the internet in many cases does not have a factory warranty. Some internet retailers will have disclaimers on their site stating that they 'stand behind the products they sell' and offer their own 'warranty service' which, if you read the fine print, is NOT factory authorized service and they may NOT be using factory parts. Do you want to rely on a piece of life support equipment purchased with this kind of warranty?
You might also look carefully at the true savings. A price might look quite appealing until you tack on shipping and handling costs and then wait five to ten days to receive the goods. Of course if the product is defective or does not perform as promised you have to deal with returning the item to some distant location while talking with faceless, nameless operators who probably are disinterested at best.
Your local dive shop retailer is someone you meet and talk to face to face. He or she can demonstrate the equipment, help you try it out and is there to help if something isn't right.
Our policy at Rum Runner is as follows:
We will honor any manufacturer's warranty for which we are an authorized service facility. The customer will need to produce a proof of purchase receipt and warranty registration card. If a receipt is not available determination of intact warranty status may be available from the manufacturer. This applies only to equipment purchased from a factory authorized dealer.
If a regulator set purchased on the internet from a non-factory authorized retailer is brought in for assembly or testing we require that a factory service, including replacement of standard service parts, be performed at the customer's expense to insure the regulator has true factory not gray market parts. In this situation the customer is asking us to assume some degree of responsibility for the equipment and we need to be sure the equipment meets factory specifications.
The bottom-line here is there is value in supporting your local dive shop. He or she is the one you go to for air, tanks, training, advice, travel, a dive buddy, problem solving and maybe a cup of coffee and a conversation. The great mail-order warehouses of the internet can offer none of that and isn't there some value in developing a relationship with a shop that can offer those other items.
So next time you see a great deal on a piece of equipment you've been longing for on www.wecansellalmosteverypieceofscubagearatridiculouslylowprices.com talk to your local dive shop first and see what they offer. You might be surprised at the value you get from them.
At Rum Runner we want you to be happy with your equipment investment. Every effort is made to match you with the right gear the first time and with the broadest offering of brands and sizes in the area the likelihood of being successful is very high. Sometimes things go wrong and a piece of equipment doesn't' live up to the customer's expectation either for fit or performance and, in this case, we don't feel the customer should be stuck with unsatisfactory gear.
Full satisfaction guarantee: Any product purchased may be returned for a full refund or equivalent store credit within 60 days of purchase. The product must be in new, resalable condition, and never been wet.
Unconditional replacement policy: If any piece of dive gear from Scubapro, Genesis, Sherwood, OMS, Akona, Pinnacle, Waterproof or Ocean Reef fails to fit or perform to your satisfaction within the first 60 days we will exchange it for any similar item that will. You pay or are refunded the cost difference. So buy your gear with confidence, try it out, dive with it. If it doesn't perform come back and we will get you into gear that fulfills your needs. We are confident that the manufacturers we carry make quality gear and our trained staff will match you to the proper gear - not the most expensive - based on your individual diving needs and this combination will limit the need for exchanges.
Exception: For new students purchasing gear for the first time at the time of their basic training; if for any reason the student is unable to complete their training, used SCUBA gear purchased from Rum Runner may be returned for a refund less a rental fee equivalent to 10% of the purchase price. This is exclusive of personal gear i.e. mask, snorkel, fins and boots.