Internet Shopping for Bridge Supplies? Top Tips for Staying Safe
If you’re buying a mass-market product like a washing machine, retailers advertise the brand and the model number so when you do price comparisons you can be sure you’re comparing like-for-like and getting the best deal. When you’re buying your bridge supplies, there aren’t many recognised brands or model numbers, so how can you be sure you’re getting a good deal and not just being sold an inferior item? We’ve made a number of observations over the years, and we think they might help you to stay safe while internet shopping for your bridge supplies.
- Brand Name: There are a few recognised brands of bridge equipment: Jannersten Forlag and Simon Lucas for example. Generally branded goods are the best quality, so if you can, buy a recognised brand.
- Compare Like-for-Like: Modiano produce some of the best quality plastic playing cards in the world. If you compare the price of a pack of Modiano plastic playing cards with an unbranded pack of plastic playing cards, the quality won’t be the same and you’re not comparing like-for-like. Brands are a good selling point, and most (if not all) retailers will mention the brand if it is a branded item. Always make sure you’re comparing like-for-like if you want a true price comparison.
- Misleading Photos: We’ve seen other suppliers show the photograph of a recognised brand of bidding box, bidding cards or bridge cloth for example, but when you read the description carefully it makes no mention of the brand and what you receive is not what’s pictured on the website. For example, there are very inferior copies of our best selling baize bridge cloth available on Amazon. The photo shows a green baize cloth, ribbon trim and felt suit symbols but the cloth is not made by us. In fact, we’ve even had people return these cloths to us thinking they were ours! The quality of the cloths returned to us in error was unacceptably poor – they were made from lightweight felt, not baize, and were badly made and finished. Don’t make the assumption that you’re getting a branded item if the supplier doesn’t mention the brand – ask the supplier before you buy if you’re not sure.
- ‘Neo Style’: A Jannersten Neo Bidding Box is just that: it’s a Bidding Box made by Jannersten and that model is called ‘Neo’. Jannersten had the problem of inferior copies being made of their Neo bidding box in the past, and those copies are still available from some outlets. If the boxes are described as ‘Neo Style’ there’s a chance that they’re not geniune Neo bidding boxes. Check the description mentions Jannersten, ask the supplier for more information if necessary and look out for the Jannersten 4-leaf clover logo on the boxes when you receive them so you know you’ve got the genuine item.
- Prices are too good to be true: We don’t have big margins on any of our products. If you find a product that looks the same because the photo is very similar, but the price is considerably less though, it’s probably not the same product. For example, we found a supplier selling card tables that looked the same as our Kendal card table. The price was incredibly cheap, so we ordered one to see what it was like. The table was very light weight and made from inferior materials. The flimsy table top had been attached to the frame at a very wonky angle and there was no padding beneath the thin vinyl. The frame was so light it couldn’t possibly have been tubular steel of the Kendal table. Altogether, it was a very disappointing table, even for the cheap price.
- Inaccurate Descriptions: We work very hard at making our descriptions accurate, but not all suppliers are as conscientious. For example, Caspari score pads contain 40 single-sided score sheets and we’ve seen them advertised as containing “approx 50 score sheets per pad”. When your order arrives, check the products match the descriptions.
- Counterfeit Goods: We are the sole distributor of Modiano products in the UK and we have been advised by a customer who organises tournaments that there are online retailers selling counterfeit cards at cheaper prices. We don’t know if this is true or not, but to protect yourself, make sure you’re buying from a reputable supplier that you can trust, and who clearly displays their full contact details on the website, including their address, in case you have a query or problem with the product.
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