KenB - 11:16 pm on Feb 15, 2010 (gmt 0)
KenB, I get your point about a 'free market system', but there's a difference between selling something that requires zero maintenance (and almost zero knowledge), and a higher end product that requires both.
The knowledge and maintenance claim doesn't hold water with me for online purchases.
In my observation of buying stuff over the years, most merchants who claim to provide extra knowledge, don't. I also don't see the maintenance aspect as a selling point for higher prices because if I'm buying online I'm expecting to get zero maintenance support from the merchant. Either the product gets delivered as promised or it doesn't. After that the rest is up to me.
As far as knowledge goes, typically if it is a major purchase, I've done my homework and I know as much or more about the product I'm buying as the merchant. There is after all something called Google and one can find out the good, the bad and the ugly about any product before making a purchase.
If I'm buying something that needs ongoing maintenance, like the new boiler I just installed in my house this past fall, I'm not going to buy it on-line. In the case of my new boiler, I purchased it through the contractor who installed it. I never even asked the contractor their price for the boiler itself, I only cared about the bottom line of how much everything would cost me when all was said and done.
Again, with the boiler, I had done my homework and I knew the ballpark of what the new boiler, plus installation should cost. I got several proposals from contractors and went with the best value (which wasn't the cheapest proposal).