When it comes to buying Circuit Breakers, especially if they are 480 volt, The first thing to think about is your Safety. Circuit Breakers are designed to protect the wire from overheating and to protect you.
There are so many Internet based Company’s selling Circuit Breakers with very little knowledge of the parts. These company’s should be avoided. I am not suggesting they are not trustworthy, I am only stating they have less knowledge and experience. Many of these company’s do not even have inventory, Without the product coming out of their own stock, they may not have full quality control in place. They broker the items out from multiple suppliers and often have delays in delivery. The delays can be critical if the item is needed overnight, especially if it is for a critical application.
When it comes to purchasing obsolete Circuit Breakers, they will be used or reconditioned. Larger suppliers may have new old stock. The term “reconditioned” is used very loosely in this industry. Some items can not be opened because the manufacturer takes special precautions for your safety. Used circuit breakers may be defective, remember they were used and then removed. Most in this industry are trustworthy about used and reconditioned and will only purchase items that were in working condition and replaced with newer items. To protect yourself, you can request a signed test sheet with the results. If they will not supply one, the item may not be tested. Also there is an organization named “PEARL” All members must pass all of the requirements such as state of the art test equipment, qualified technicians, reputation and inventory.
The manufactures always suggest purchasing from an authorized distributor to guarantee the item is safe and to protect you from counterfeit and recalled circuit breakers. The only problem that comes into place is the lack of inventory availability to receive your item immediately. The distributors do not want to invest the money into items that may sit around for years and the price may be much higher.
Often Distributors will order out items from Independent distributors. They may use Circuit Breaker companies that have a long track record of quality, knowledge and warranty. They may also ask to have their company added to the suppliers liability insurance. Don,t be afraid to ask.
The most important thought I have is, Safety First, Speak to a human being and determine if they are knowledgeable. I suggest you do not buy from companies that do not disclose their address or phone number.
Check with the BBB. Ask if they have liability insurance. If the sales person can not or will not try to help you determine what you need, they may not have the experience. Nothing is more important than the safety of your friends and family.