Monthly Archives: September 2014

Shop Til You Drop

McDonald LAnd Rover Guide To Buying OnlineThe McDonald 4×4 Guide

to buying online.

Of course, you  know how to get online, you’re there already. As for shopping, I’m sure you’ve done some before now.

 It’s just like a real world shop except the changing rooms aren’t all full, you don’t fear the foot measuring machine pinching your toes and you don’t have to cue at the with 500 other people whilst children race around you like giddy fools.

Except it’s not just like real-world shopping, because you can’t see what you’re buying. You can’t fell the weight, see the length, get a real idea of how well it will go with the new sofa. Is that the real colour, not a half shade off?

Shopping online you should expect your goods to be;

  1. What was advertised
  2. Supplied in a timely manner
  3. Fit for the purpose advertised
  4. Reasonably priced

Some top tips for shopping online.

1    Your Flexible Friend

Use a credit card. Not a debit card, but a credit card. As part of the government allowing the creation of credit cards, they insisted on credit card companies helping to protect consumers, so if you have a problem with a supplier and can’t resolve it, tell your credit card company. They will refund you and then chase the supplier themselves.
You even get fraud protection if someone steals your details and goes on a shopping spree themselves. As long as you pay off the balance before the due date, it doesn’t matter what the percentage rate is, you’ll not be paying it.

2   Look for the S

All website addresses start with ‘http://’. This is how computers know you’re looking for an internet address. What you want to see when you’re paying is ‘httpS://’. The S signifies a secure connection, which means that the website has created a James Bond-like encryption key and sent it to you and you’re using it. Nobody can listen in on the conversation and steal details and when you pay, the money is going where you want it to. You don’t really need a secure connection whilst you’re choosing items, but you should expect to see it when you go to pay.

3     Payback

There are plenty of cashback websites now who offer you money for shopping online. They usually work in conjunction with companies to get you to go to a certain company or buy a certain product, but often it’s simply a way to put a company’s advertising in front of you directly. With the usual caveat that you should be careful, and always be safe, you should look at cashback options as a bonus rather than a risk.

4     Never look a gifthorse in the mouth?

You can’t con an honest person. It’s a truism because it’s true. If something looks too good to be true then it usually is, so if you receive emails offering top-quality goods at street-market prices, ask yourself if this makes sense…

 

5     Caveat Emptor

Buyer Beware, as the latin phrase goes, is a sensible maxim. Before you shop online, there are some simple security tips to follow;

a. Update your internet browser to get the latest protection (usually by clicking Help > About) and ensure the best compatibility with internet security programs.

b. Update your antivirus programs. There are plenty of free antivirus programs which make their money by selling corporate licenses to companies for business use, but who use your experience to trawl the web for nasties to protect against. You can also pay for upgraded services, although these are often unnecessary and don’t add to their core purpose.

c. Secure your bank cards. Most banks now have security protocols for your credit or debit cards, so that each purchase needs a password and username before the money will transfer. Pick a password you’ll remember but one with letters, numbers and some punctuation to make it really hard to guess. Don’t use your birthdate (which you will often supply as part of a user account profile) or the word ‘password’.

d. Use a credit card directly. You can pay with online payment methods like PayPal, and can even link cards to them so that the money transfers immediately, but be aware that you only get consumer protection by using a credit card directly. If you pay any other way, you are at the mercy of the supplier when things go wrong. It’s really not worth it.

Don’t be afraid of contacting the seller. You should be able to contact them by email, phone or post if you have any questions. You can ask for details about the item rather than just making a decision on the strength of the pictures and descriptions given, and even ask if the price quoted is the best that they can do. Hey, if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?

 This also has the added benefit of letting you get an idea of how genuine the seller seems. IF you have any qualms about them, walk away.

Search engines can be just as reliable as comparison websites for showing you items for sale, and you should shop around. Seldom will you find the same item at the same price everywhere; companies are not allowed to get together to set a price (this is illegal) and there’s always someone who hopes to make more money with the mantra ‘pile them high and sell them cheap’.

 This may work to your benefit but don’t forget that large stores will often accept an online competitor’s prices as genuine, and take your business if they can. If you find a washing machine online cheaper than a shop has on the sign, ask for the manager and give them the chance to match the price. It gives you a human to talk to and if necessary to call should things go pear-shaped.
This really does work; we have seen it done.

As far as McDonald 4×4’s webshop goes, we would recommend the following tips:

Have a good think about what you want. Get it straight in your mind. Make sure that you know exactly which vehicle you have, and which part you want.

Shop around to get a good idea of options and prices. We are certain that we can offer any part available to any other supplier, and we’re pretty sure that we charge less than anyone else too. If you find somewhere cheaper, there’s a good chance we can match the price if you let us know!

You can use the search facility on our webshop to look for parts or you can use the index to choose the vehicle, then the area of the car, then surf to your heart’s content, or you can just call us. We’re only too happy to help you find out about your car and how to make it better if it’s poorly. Between the parts and the workshop staff we have as much experience with Land Rover vehicles as you could want. We’ll bet you we’ve seen it before and fixed it.

 For further advice on shopping online,  try these links:

 Citizen’s Advice Bureau

GQ Magazine’s guide to shopping online

UK Consumer Council

Money Advice Service

BBC Webwise guide to shopping online

PC Magazine’s guide to online shopping

Wikipedia guide to shopping online

Which guide to shopping online

 This was written by Rupert Astbury.

Land Rover: Size Matters

McDonald 4x4 Carmichael Range Rover 6X4

Land Rover know about Big; The Carmichael Commando 6X4 picture courtesy of speedmonkey.co.uk

Land Rover are on a diversity drive. After having been passed from commercial pillar to post, sold to BMW, then Ford, now Tata Motors (thankfully avoiding the abortive Phoenix consortium) and amalgamated with Jaguar, Land Rover is enjoying the spectacular fun you can have with extremes.

What’ll it do, mister?

McDonald 4x4 Range Rover Sport SVR Nurburgring

Nurburger and ECU Chips. Picture courtesy of Autoexpress.co.uk

550  brake horsepower in a chelsea tractor, meeting the pantheon of the racing gods (the Nordschleife Nurburgring circuit).  For eight minutes and fourteen seconds, then it did it all over again.

8:14. That’s faster than a Honda NSX, BMW M1, Porsche’s Cayman and Boxster, and over 10 seconds faster than a Jaguar XKR or Lotus Exige!

The new Range Rover Sport seems to be living up to the name. Check out Autoblog’s article and beautiful pictures on the SVR’s Monterey launch.

Mix and Game, Set & Match

McDonald 4x4 Discovery Sport

Discovery Sport picture courtesy of Autoblog.com

From the sublime to the rediscovered, Land Rover have unveiled the 2015 Discovery Sport.

A replacement for the Freelander 2, it has the front end of a Range Rover Sport and the back end of an Evoque, or so it’s looks suggest.

Retaining the brand’s offroad pedigree courtesy of exhaustive (ho ho) testing, if the on-road manners are as impeccable as its older siblings then it should give those darned foreign johnnies a run for their leisure-orientated money.

And talking of offroad pedigree

We’ve all been there. Playing in the dirt or sand or gravel, your child knees scabbed and scuffed, ‘driving’ your Matchbox ™ Land Rover through the far-off lands of your imagination.

Check out this video of Pawel Litwinski’s realisation of the sand-pit dream with his 1973 Series 3 109, courtesy of American Youtubers Petrolicious. It’s like the video equivalent of Hotel California…

Cheep jeep

Chery Jaguar Landrover. Jaguar Land Rover, you know. Chery is a Chinese  government-owned car manufacturer created in 1997. You can see what’s going to happen there.

Tata Land Rover. Land Rover, you know. Tata are the parent company, who also make commercial vehicles for emerging economies. It’s not that they’re bad, quite the opposite. If you need something that can be fixed by someone with Jeremy Clarkson’s toolkit (1. Hammer 2. Spare hammer) and run on Diesel with a sulphur content high enough to colour it yellow, then look no further. From pickups to 4X4s to light commercial lorries, Tata do quite a lot on wheels. In order to increase sales abroad, they want an injection of quality.

We just worry that, in the same way that BMW took what they wanted and used the technology in competing vehicles, Tata will water down the technology gap to the point where Land Rover becomes a luxury, niche brand like Range Rover.

Pretty soon British car manufacturing will have been set back by 100 years, to the point where you’d have to be rich as Croesus to own one.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

McDonald 4x4 Mini Super Leggera

Mini. Not for everyone. Picture courtesy of autobild.de

I know. It’s been a while since Land Rover and Rover split up. It was heart-breaking. The tears and screaming, crying into my hanky. Nothing will ever be the same.

McDonald 4x4 Mini Super Leggera

Derbyshire cutie. Picture courtesy of coolhunting.com

The Rover started going out with that horrid BMW, who stole the new Mini. I know, it was awful.

Still and all, as the americans say, the Bayerische Motor Werkers have released plans for the Mini Superleggera (Italian for Super Light, Advert-speak for think Ferrari, pay Ford)

It’s got nothing to do with Land Rovers, but when the pictures are this good, it’s got to be celebrated. Check out the tail lights. Hopefully, they’ll make it to production.

If you need to be supported in any emotional decision about your Land Rover, go see a therapist.

If you want it to be made awesome, take a look at the parts and accessories on offer at our webshop www.mcdonald4x4.co.uk or call in at our workshop in Oswestry.

This article was written by Rupert Astbury