I as well got confused by this.
It just takes a bit of time to go to the merchants. But checking the merchants should be something a player does anytime they have to head back to town since the gear is always changing.
Lol, who gets their gear from merchants?
Sorry, but it does happen.
On my Dh I have the WORST LUCK in rings and necks. Generally the merchants have had something better (since right now, the AH is hit or miss).
A'int nothing wrong with using the merchants for gear.