In the ages of modern technological convenience, it is easy to get wrapped up in all of the things you can do with the push of a button or click of a mouse. Online shopping has become just as popular as actual physical shopping, if not more so. It is just too easy to shop from home in our pajamas. Getting dressed and braving cold or rain does not sound like much fun in comparison. Plus, your purchases are delivered right to your door, eliminating sharing the road with bad drivers as well! Call me spoiled but count me in!
With the convenience of online shopping, however, comes risk. You often don't know exactly what you are getting until it arrives, and at that point you can be very disappointed. Sure, you can return it, at an additional expense coming out of your pocket. Worse yet, you may never get your item at all.
Considering that I have spent the past several years making various things out of paracord, I have literally spent thousands on cord. Most of this was bought locally, where I could touch and see it before I committed. I did my best to buy local, but when the prices online were lower, I bought online. Most of the time, it went fairly well, but sometimes it did not go well at all. I bought glow in the dark paracord that did not glow. Paracord arrived in the mail with lumps, bumps, and frays all over it, making large parts of it unusable. Then, of course, there were things that never arrived at all, which was not fun. Those items were bought online and paid for with Paypal and the retailer had some sort of mysterious situation transpire where they basically ripped off a lot of people. When I looked them up on the Better Business Bureau website, my heart sank as I realized how many people had been taken for a ride. Lucky for me, Paypal got my money back. Others in the same boat could not say the same at the time, but have hopefully gotten resolution since.
Stuff like this happens all the time, however, and we need to take care to protect ourselves. Ask your fellow paracorders where they shop and get some recommendations. A good source for me has always been Paracord Planet; they also sell on Ebay at awesome prices. Buying paracord off of Ebay has been a mixed bag for me-some has been great and some not so great but the deals kept me coming back to try again. If you do not have any recommendations to go on, check out sites like Ripoff Report, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau and read reviews. Pay close attention to Ebay feedback and always purchase through Paypal or with a credit card that offers a protection program.
Also, if you have a problem, be vocal about it. Don't just sit around and wait while your stuff doesn't come and your money gets spent. A paracord seller recently took people for $80,000.00 and guess what? He 'went out of business' and did not refund that money, yet he went back into business under a new name that is one letter different than his old name! His 'new' business is even in the same location as the old one with items on the shelves while the people who bought from his other venture wait for purchases or refunds that are not coming.
Research before you buy, especially in the days of online shopping. Junk paracord is just that-junk. It feels awful to the touch, will not burn nicely (but will catch immediately on fire and spew vile-smelling black smoke) and probably cannot be depended upon in a survival situation. While cheaper is nice, it most definitely is not always better, especially when it never shows up in the first place!