Let`s face it, buying SCUBA gear online is a controversial process at best. And if you don`t know what you`re doing when you look over equipment to see it`s condition, you probabaly ought not buy life support equipment online. I`ve been buying manuals and videos online to study up for a dive vacation I`m planning for my mid tour leave from Iraq. No going to the local dive shop to pick them up in Baghdad. I recieved my orders quickly and accurately. I`m also browsing through the sites to compare the prices and specs on various types of equipment that I`m thinking about buying now that I`m moving beyond renting everything. I still plan on buying most of my equipment from a shop because they can help me size it and test it out. But if the discounts sites lists are accurate and I continue to be impressed by their quality as I branch out from just educational material, then I could move more of my shopping to sites like this as I get more confident in my own abilities.
I`ve edited this as of April 4th after following up on gear from the site I was origionally thinking was a good one. www.diversdiscount.com claims they are an authorized dealer and has a whole page on warranties telling you how to research them. But when I looked up authorized dealers on www.zeagle.com and www.diverite.com they didn`t show up on Zeagle and Dive Rite specifically denounced them as not being an authorized dealer and using their copyrighted images without permission.
Another site I`ve been exploring and getting some dvds and simple equipment off of is www.divers-supply.com. Are they an authorized dealer??? Their headline says that they will beat any Authorized Dealers price, which would tend to raise a red flag. But, when you go to Dive Rite`s site and look up the bricks and mortar location for Divers Supply in GA, FL, and NC they pop right up as an authorized dealer. And with a link that will take you right back to their Diver`s Supply`s site no less. So, at least for that company, they`re legit and you can get a warranty.
As for ebay, I did get a couple of knives headed to my sisters place where I`ll be diving next month for so cheap that even if they turn out to be crap, they still cost less than a good garden trowel for digging in the yard.
I believe that there are good deals to be found online for the knowledgeable consumer who takes the time to check out who he is buying from and has the ability to evaluate the equipment when it arrives. Some of the deals are even good enough to offset the lack of a warranty.