Buying a pool table online
I have a few people call me over the course of a year about installing pool tables they have purchased online. I’ve seen some of them disappointed and some of them ecstatic, so I wanted to give you some advice and things to look for and be aware of if you are shopping online for a pool table.
Price Luring – That $1299 table looks very appealing but watch out for items or services not included in the table price. Most billiard companies will have an extra charge for delivery and installation on top of the table price, but a lot of online companies won’t include basic items like cloth, pockets and accessories and will charge additional fees for crating slate for shipping, lift gate service to unload heavy items off delivery truck in addition to “white glove” delivery and installation fees. Some won’t even tell you that you need to pay for delivery and installation and will either leave you with an unassembled table or will send a crew out that expects to be paid separately. Here is some questions to ask when purchasing a table online.
Is the cloth included in the table price? If so, what quality is it? International Billiards recommends a 21oz wool/nylon blend billiard cloth with Teflon coating (included on all our tables). You may have to pay extra for heavier weight cloth and Teflon coating when purchasing online.
Are the pockets included in the price? Some online companies will include cheaper pockets and charge upgrades for leather pockets.
Does it come with accessories? You will need pool cues, a ball set, tip chalk and a triangle at minimum to play a game of pool, so look to see what accessories are included and what you will have to pay extra for.
How much is delivery and installation? Can I pay for it with my purchase or do I need to pay the installers separately?
Find out how they handle installation. Most places will offer the following – drop off at your home and you contract an installer, drop off at your home and they contract an installer or they contract the installer to receive the table for you then bring to your home and install.
If they are dropping the table off at your home, is there an extra charge for lift gate service? Otherwise you have to unload the table yourself!
Are there additional charges for shipping or crating the slate for shipping? Some places will offer free shipping but will still charge
So, you’ve found a great deal on a brand new pool table online! It’s $1699 and is solid wood with a lifetime warranty, beautiful hand carved legs and leather pockets. But wait a second, now you have to add extra for the cloth, pockets, slate crating, lift gate service and installation! That $1699 can very quickly become $2000 - $3000! Those who choose not to add the upgrades at additional cost find that the included items like pockets, cloth and accessories are typically of low quality and wear out very quickly.
This is the most common issue customers run across when attempting to buy a pool table online. They are pulled in by the low price but quickly find out the price does not include everything. Some online companies will sell a table, but not inform the customer that they will need to unload it themselves or pay for installation separately until the truck pulls up in the driveway!
So you’ve decided to go forward and order the table. You get through the check out, pay for the table and they let you know that it will be 4 – 8 weeks for the table to arrive. 8 weeks later you call them and they say that there was a problem with the order and it will be another two weeks. Two weeks later you call to check again and then they tell you it’s on back order from the manufacturer. 4 weeks later you call and leave a message but never get a call back. You try again and again but hear nothing back. You never get your pool table or your money back.
This scenario has happened to hundreds of people that bought tables online from a few companies (see Rip Off Report) that either went bankrupt or “fell off” the face of the Earth.
Misleading information - Pictures and descriptions online can be misleading to customers as well. Many sites will describe their tables as ALL WOOD, leaving out the fact that particle board is technically all wood as well. Some will say they are solid wood, but will neglect to mention what species of wood so you can’t tell if it is a softer rubber wood or harder maple wood. Stain and cloth colors can also look different based on monitor calibrations and dye lots, so you may not end up with the color you thought you were getting. There are also a lot of fly by night manufacturers who build tables but do not build to BCA standards making it difficult to find installers that will set the table up and service it in the future, since those tables do not use standard parts.
I am more than comfortable ordering a $20 shirt online but for something that I expect to last a lifetime I will be more comfortable ordering from a company that has a brick and mortar location and has good Google reviews.