Dehumidified - BBC Radio4

26th Mar 2024

You may have heard us contribute recently to the Radio 4 documentary entitled DEHUMIDIFIED. If you didn’t hear it, you can head over to BBC Sounds and take a listen. It’s a short true story about how a BBC Radio Producer (Polly Weston) went shopping online for a dehumidifier and ended up being duped by a dishonest “consumer review” website and ended up with a product that wasn’t fit for purpose. There appears to be a growing trend in these so called “Consumer Review” sites. The BBC Documentary highlights some of the red flags and pitfalls to look out for and these apply to all industries, not just the dehumidifier industry. It also highlights how easy it is to fall into these traps. During the recording, it was clear that Polly is a very smart journalist with strong research and investigative skills but unfortunately we all have moments where we're not having the best of days, or we're juggling many tasks and we let our guard down.

Here's some general online shopping advice put together by Ian Ridley, our online expert, who featured in the documentary. All of this is sound, practical advice and covers things that we should all consider when buying anything online, especially from websites we're using for the first time.

We'll also explain how we try our best to counter any concerns and reassure our customers about each snippet of advice.

1. Who am I buying from?

It should be easy to find out the company details of who you’re buying from and where they’re based. If it isn’t, that’s a red flag straight away. All good websites should have an “About Us” or a “Contact Us”. Polly and many others hadn't checked for contact details when they were shopping but if they had then maybe the fact that the her seller was based overseas and had no telephone number would have been enough of a red flag to question the website, the product and the brand.

At Ebac, you can find our contact details here, and as you can see we’re based in County Durham in the North East of England. We do everything here. Our development team design and test our products here. We manufacture and assemble our products. We have our call centre here. In fact, we’re 100% committed to the UK

2. How long has the seller been around?

New websites and brands seem to be springing up everyday and who do you trust? We’re not saying be cautious of all new brands but if you’ve not heard of a brand or retailer before, then it’s a potential red flag and it’ll pay you to be extra cautious about the other points on this list. Polly and many others hadn’t heard of their seller/brand before but why would they?

At Ebac, we’re sometimes seen as a “new” brand for first time dehumidifier shoppers – but we’ve been making dehumidifiers for over fifty years now. You can read about our history over on our history page

3. Can I speak to a real person?

If a website doesn’t list a contact telephone number then it’s a definite red flag. Why would a retailer not list their own telephone number? Even if a telephone number is listed, if you have any doubts at all then it may be worth calling the seller and seeing how easy it is to speak with someone. If you can’t get through to a real person then guess what…that’s a red flag

At Ebac, we have a customer service team (based at our factory in County Durham) that are happy to offer advice and help with anything. Give us a call on 0845 8050000 if you need anything

4. Where is my product being shipped from?

This is important for two reasons. Firstly, how long will it take to receive your goods and secondly, if you had to return it for whatever reason – how easy would that be? Sometime we just see things like “Free Shipping” or “Free Worldwide Delivery” and don’t consider the “how” and “where”. But like Polly found out in her dehumidifier buying journey, it’s extremely important.

At Ebac, we ship our products direct from our factory in County Durham with a choice of delivery options (Next day, specific day etc). If you ever had to return an Ebac Dehumidifier, it’s a simple process, it's free and we can arrange it all for you.

5. What do existing customers say?

It’s easy to be won over with lots of sales and marketing hyperbole. Polly admitted herself that she was won over with some of the (false) claims by her seller. That’s why it is so important to listen to real customers. Hunt out real reviews on trusted websites, speak to friends and family that already own a dehumidifier (or whatever product you’re shopping for). Recommendations from friends, family and colleagues are definitely the ones to trust.

At Ebac, over the years, we’ve sold over a million dehumidifiers so we have plenty of happy customers in every corner of the UK happy to spread the word for us. Just ask one of them, they should be easy enough to find

6. What if I change my mind?

When buying online, we don’t often consider the possibility of changing our mind but it’s really important that you’re happy with your purchase. So before you click that checkout button, take a look into the returns policy, it may just make you reconsider – especially if you cannot find one!

At Ebac, we keep it really simple, if you’re not 100% satisfied then you can return it free of charge. All of the details are in our returns policy if you’d like to have a read

7. What is the Warranty and what about Repairability?

No one wants a product to fail and shoppers don’t often consider this when buying online. But it’s always good to know that if the unlikely did happen and your product developed a fault, what would you do. Always check out how long your product warranty runs for. What is actually covered under warranty? Does the product get repaired or simply go into landfill and get replaced?

At Ebac, we keep it really simple, we clearly state the warranty period on all product listings (with some up to five years) and we cover literally everything in that period. Parts, Labour and Shipping costs are all included with an Ebac warranty

8. Are the reviews I’m reading genuinely unbiased?

This is a really tricky one and I’m sad to say that a lot of websites claiming to review things like “the top 5 best dehumidifiers“ are more than likely going to be biased. They’ll be based on which products give the reviewer the most commission for recommending them. If it's a truly independent review then you'd expect all brands to be considered. If a review site only has a couple of brands then it's a potential red flag and caution should be applied.

At Ebac, we encourage you to listen to real customers (ideally, friends, family, colleagues, neighbours) rather than so called industry experts. It is so difficult to pick out the real independent industry experts from the people claiming to be.

9. Will it do what I expect it to do?

Shoppers take this one for granted. You assume that what your buying is fit for purpose but Polly found out that this is not always the case. If you’re buying a dehumidifier for drying laundry then you’d be disappointed if it didn’t. Polly certainly had no chance of drying laundry with her dehumidifier. And that’s a common occurrence these days. When reading trusted reviews from trusted websites, try to find a review from an existing customer that bought for the same reasons and the same purpose.

At Ebac, we realise that customers buy dehumidifiers for various reasons. Sometimes to solve a damp or condensation problem, sometimes to dry laundry instead of using a tumble dryer, sometimes to protect a cherished possession such as classic car or antique. We design our products to cover all of these bases and try to explain this across our website but we also encourage you to ask. Feel free to give us a call get our advice.

10. Why am I hurrying to buy?

FOMO is a growing problem online. (Fear Of Missing Out). If you find yourself hurrying to buy something, then STOP and take a minute to understand why you’re hurrying. Polly noticed that the website she was buying from had sold thousands of the dehumidifier she was looking at and they only had seven left in stock. There was also a timer counting down very quickly giving the impression time was running out. She hurried through checkout to make sure she got one of them last seven – but she later realised that the page always showed seven left in stock, it always had a countdown timer, no matter what time or day it was.

At Ebac, we don’t want anyone to hurry a purchase, shoppers should take their time to explore all products. We sometimes have short term promotions running based on stock levels as do all manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers but these offers tend to be around for days at a time rather than minutes and seconds. We certainly don’t want anyone to feel panicked into purchasing something. If you feel rushed then it's a potential red flag.

Finally, do you have any other advice to share with us? Drop us a line at [email protected] or call us on 0345 8050000

If you're interested in buying a dehumidifier then hopefully we've reassured you that Ebac is the best choice (Yes, we are biased, but we're also honest!)

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