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On line Wholesalers

Regardless of which on line wholesaler you use please remember the old clause 
"Buyer be aware."  I do work with several manufacturers as well as 
wholesalers on a regular bases.  Many of the online retailers list prices 
that not only below wholesale cost but also below the prices some wholeslers 
pay for these same items.

I had confronted one manufacturer representative on aquarium heaters 
complaining that my direct price from them was X amount of dollars if I 
purchased a case at a time and that someone was selling this same heater at 
roughly 80% of my cost.  I than asked if I bough in a larger quantity if I 
could get a better price as was told I could get 10% off on a full skid load 
(24 heaters to a case and 36 cases to a skid = 864 aquarium heaters of the 
same type) which still came over the cost the other guy was selling them for.

Finally he made me an offer that if I was willing to waite for them I could 
get factory imperfects at half my normal price but I'd have to get on waiting 
list for them and that they would only be warrantied for 30 days rather than 
usual 1 year.  He than showed me the secret way factory imperfects are marked 
and I went through some of heaters at home that I had purchased at bargain 
prices.  More than half of them had the secret code on them as imperfects.

Other options I have run across it that if I want to pay for special art work 
(to put my brand on the item instead of theres) I can get simular to regular 
products with slight manufacturing differences to reduce cost at very 
reasonable prices.  Problem here again is large quantity buys are required.

One thing I would definatly check is the reputation of the dealer.  Will they 
take an item back and give you full credit for it if it arrives defective?  
Will they take an item back but your stuck with the cost of shipping both to 
you and back to them?  How long does it take to get average refund?  How 
often does there paperwork on returns get lost?  Do they tell you to take 
your complaints to the manufacturer rather than handle them thereselves?  And 
before ordering anything on line do they have a 1-800 number you can put your 
order in and talk to someone who can promise you a shipping date?