As of June 1, 2010, Hunter Douglas will no longer allow anyone to sell their products online. Instead, to purchase their products, you will need to find a reputable dealer to work with. I think this is a smart move on their part, and here’s why:
For one, finding Hunter Douglas shades on a website at fraction of the price being offered by local dealers and designers cheapens the reputation of Hunter Douglas. Although these products had the Hunter Douglas name, many of them were not of the same quality as the products sold through local dealers. Consequently, it was difficult for designers to compete in the marketplace when the “same” product could be bought online for less money.
Secondly, these online sales posed problems for customers, as well. If I sell a Hunter Douglas product to a client, and there is a problem with it three years later, I am able to send it in for repair. However, if that same client bought her blind online the local fabricators refused to repair it, as the product was inferior to begin with. This was confusing for the consumer, who assumed she had bought a quality product. It also put the HD dealers in tough spot, attempting to explain the differences between the products without sounding like we were selling them a line.
Buying through a reputable dealer will ensure that you get top service, installation by professionals who know their stuff, and assistance in selecting the best product, fabric and color for your situation, style and budget.
I happen to believe that you get what you pay for. If you want top-quality products, whether it is furniture, window treatments or rugs, you will pay a premium price for them. They will last much longer, so the price paid per year may actually be less over the life of the product. Not everyone wants top-of-the-line products, as they prefer to change their decor on a more regular basis. This is a personal decision, and there is nothing wrong with either choice. Just remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What do you think? Have you purchased Hunter Douglas products online and gotten burned? Or did you have a great experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this upcoming change…