I saw a few mowers that I was interested in, but had apprehensions about ordering online. Can anyone comment on this? Can you recommend any online dealer?
As long as you order from a reputatable company, it is no different than buying froma big Box store. No service, but if you take care of your equipment, no problem. Here is one example. Most brands will have similar vendors. Just googel a brand that you are interestedin.
Here is a link that might be useful: Mowers Direct
I have bought two online, one from Speedway and one from Wise, both major retailers, and both arrived with shipping damage. The cause of the damage was poor re-packing. Evidently they had both of them out on the floor and re-packed them for shipment. They didn't use all the original packing material and just threw loose parts, fasteners, etc. into the box. I was able to fix both of them and each vendor was prompt in replacing damaged/missing parts.
If you can get one in the original unopened carton, you should be good. Other than that, there's no particular risk involved as long as you're dealing with an established vendor, and the price is usually unbeatable.
My only concern would be receiving a damaged mower. Who knows if the packaged mower would be abused by the delivery service. Abuse such as dropping the box or a smashed box. I think I'll just buy local.
You can assume this big, heavy box will be thrown around, but if it is an unopened original carton it probably still will be good. The damage I had included bent wheel brackets, broken air filter housing, missing fasteners and minor scratches from unsecured parts. Both were premium mowers and each turned out to be a great mower. One, a LB 10550, got sold when I got the next one, a LB 22271 which is my #1 mower.