Supposed distributors of the PlayStation 3 are popping up across the internet. But many of them are very dubious in their origins. Who can you trust, and who should you avoid?

One of the golden rules of shopping applies here: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Treat any distributor claiming to offer advance order of wholesale-priced PlayStation 3 with the contempt they deserve, and keep your money well away from them.

The PS3 market is a particular minefield. In principle, it sounds as though it makes sense: everybody knows the PlayStation 3 is going to be sold out almost as soon as it arrives, so why not pay in advance to get to the queue?

Well, that is how it would work if all the distributors were honest. But some have been offering orders that are not worth the investment they are written on. They have been selling advance promises of delivery that are not been guaranteed by Sony. That means if you order in advance from any high priced gaming distributor, you may very likely not receive your PlayStation Pokemon until 2007, when supply will finally be able to meet demand.

Now, there are some honest distributors out there. One way to find them is to stick with the big name companies. These have a lot more reputation to lose if they cheat their customers, so they are likely to be a little more careful about promising more than they can deliver.

Still, that is not enough. If you do decide to place an advanced order, you will want to ask a few questions. Ask how many PlayStation 3 units Sony is going to ship to that retailer in the first batch, not overall and check that every order are guaranteed to be filled from this number. You can also check that you will be given a refund if they fail to provide you with a PlayStation 3 on the date promised.

Finally, here are a few other scams to avoid. Be very cautious of auctions of the PlayStation 3 or elsewhere. During past console launches the site has been flooded with carefully-worded auctions apparently selling the console, but in fact offering nothing more than an empty box.

Others have sold guarantees that turn out to be entirely worthless. But keep your eyes peeled, do not believe everything you read, and you might just be able to find a good PlayStation 3 distributor.


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