Tips For Smart And Effective Online Shopping

It’s no secret that people are going online for an increasing number of household purchases.  A recent Consumer Reports study found that 92 percent of respondents were highly satisfied buying small appliances online.  However Bob Markovich, Home and Yard Editor, warns that consumers should prepare in advance with research and coupon clipping for any appliance purchase, large or small.

Keep the following tips in mind to make smart choices and avoid future headaches.

Plan Ahead To Get Good Prices

Sign up on a retailer’s website weeks before a purchase to receive e-mail coupons and other promotional deals such as rebates, free shipping, and so-called VIP sales. And try haggling. According to 35 percent of major appliance shoppers who tried to negotiate prices, seventy-two percent were successful–with a median savings of $97.

Choose A Store For Its Selection

Survey respondents who bought major appliances praised Abt Electronics and the Best Buy-owned Pacific Sales for having an ample selection. Home Depot got low marks for its selection of small and major appliances. Amazon received high marks overall from shoppers for small appliances and was a standout for selection, while Costco and Sam’s Club, the two warehouse clubs in the survey, received low scores for small-appliance selection.

Consumers Search For Service

Independent retailers earned high marks from shoppers for major and small appliances. Abt got top marks among shoppers of major appliances, and independent retailers had the highest marks from small-appliance shoppers at walk-in stores. All the other venues except Sears had low scores.

 Watch Out For Warranties

The median price paid for an extended warranty or service contract was $113 for a major appliance and $40 for a small appliance. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend purchasing a warranty or service contract, because most repairs do not occur during the limited time period covered by the extended warranty. Consumers who do purchase one should be sure to understand the terms, particularly how it differs from the standard warranty and which years it covers.

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