Exposed: What the Other Guys Don’t Want You to Know

Posted on June 8, 2011

Secrets of web-only scale and measurement companies EXPOSED

Myth: Web-Only scale companies say “Over 99% of Items IN STOCK”

Truth: Think about this statement. With all of the items on the website, is there really a warehouse large enough to house all of those products, and could they afford to carry that much inventory on their books? The answer is “no”. Most of the “web-only” scale and measurement companies are only a small office with a couple of employees. They don’t actually stock much inventory if any!

What this means is they are assuming that the manufacturers of the equipment listed on their website have the items in stock, and they will drop-ship that item to you. Always ask if “in-stock” means at their actual location or at the manufacturer’s warehouse. If someone tells you it’s in stock at the manufacturer’s location, make sure they call that manufacturer to double check! Traditional scale companies usually stock some inventory, including demo items and rental equipment.

So, if you really need an item quickly, most traditional scale companies will loan you a temporary item to meet your needs until a permanent solution is found.


Myth: Web-Only scale companies will honor manufacturer warranties.

Truth: Most of the “web-only” scale and measurement companies don’t honor the manufacturer’s warranties, because they can’t.  So, even though the warranties are listed on their websites, if you have any problems with the item you purchase you will have to ship it back to the manufacturer for repair.  Usually, factory repair takes a long time because the manufacturers are not in the business of repairing equipment.  However, at traditional scale and measurement companies that have in-house Service Departments, repairs by factory-trained Technicians with Factory parts can be handled very quickly because traditional scale companies are set up for fast repairs.  Therefore, warranty claims are handled locally, and much more quickly by a factory authorized repair facility like Nicol Scales.


Myth: Web-Only scale companies can repair or calibrate equipment.

Truth: Most of the “web-only” companies keep their overhead low by offering no repair or calibration capabilities at all.  Therefore, if your scale or measurement device breaks, you will have to look elsewhere for repair.  At a traditional scale company with a repair facility, they can repair your scale and save you money instead of telling you that you need to buy a new scale.  Most of the time repair can be done “in-house” or at the customer’s site.


Myth: All scales come calibrated.

Truth: Not all scales come calibrated.  In fact, many scales are “tested” at the factory before they are shipped but are not actually calibrated.  If calibrated at the factory, the scale may not be supplied with a calibration certificate proving it was calibrated.  Using a scale that is not calibrated and is not weighing correctly means you are probably losing money or affecting your production processes.  If you are an ISO accredited company or if you are putting a “Legal for Trade” scale into service, you need your scale or measurement device calibrated with a written calibration certificate to prove it.  Most “web-only” scale companies can’t provide a written, NIST-traceable calibration certificate with the equipment they sell.  There are two reasons for this.

  • They are not an accredited calibration company.
  • They never touch the product that they sell you because it drop-ships from the manufacturer’s warehouse directly to the customer.

If accuracy and ISO 17025 calibration are important to you, use a traditional scale and measurement company like Nicol Scales.


Myth: By spending a lot of time searching the internet, a customer can find many prices from many different “companies”.

Truth: The same couple of companies run many of these websites. Don’t believe us? Go to their “About Us” tab and compare addresses and phone numbers. So you are actually spending your time getting the same prices from the same few companies.  Also, if you had a bad experience with a web-based scale company in the past, you might be unknowingly buying from the same company off of a different website.


Myth: You can always find the lowest prices on the internet.

Truth: Sure, good deals exist on the internet.  However, there are just as many bad deals on the internet as well.  There is a booming market of fake and counterfeit scales showing up on many “web-only” scale company websites and auction websites.  We recommend doing some research into the company you are thinking about buying from before purchasing any weighing or measuring equipment off of the internet.  Check the Better Business Bureau to get an idea of the companies’ history.  Better yet, call the listed manufacturer  to make sure that you are dealing with an authorized distributor.  Many times large “brick and mortar” scale and measurement companies that have multiple locations and sell a high volume of equipment get better pricing and incentives from manufacturers.  Don’t assume that a small, web-based company has better pricing than anyone else just because they advertise “special” or “low” prices.

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