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What you could do is ctc. the Mfgr. to see if they're a 'Prefered Retailer'. You can 'express' your concerns to them to see if there are any registered complaints. I would assume that if there aren't any that it's OK to do. Be SURE that the Retailer address and phone # 'match' what you're finding on the net. If not, or if it's like a P.O Box (if you know what I mean), forget it.
The only thing that I like about buying 'in person' is in case you have to return something. Customer Service has a price. Personally, I only do small purchases over the Net for personal 'things'. Again, I like to see who I'm doing business with.
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: Perhaps the Internet Retailer just puts you in touch w/a local Retailer. Kinda like how some of those Internet "We've can get you a new car for $100 over cost!" gimicks are. They simply put you in touch w/a car dealer in your area. For me, that's OK if that's how the Internet Floor Retailer is operating ...
I tend to agree with your sentiment, Jay, about buying only small things off the Internet: thus my reluctance. But $2.25 per square foot for select-grade, 3-inch by 3/4-inch Brazilian Cherry (not American Cherry, but the very hard Barzilian Cherry) is almost too good to pass up. (Home Depot does not even sell the cheap, common-grade red oak for that price). I have received samples and they look great. Anyone else have any experience?