Where To Shop For Appliances
If youre in the market for new appliances, you probably want to find a store with reasonable prices, good selection, trained help and a smooth shopping experience. But results of two surveys from the Consumer Reports National Research Center show that no one retailer was able to provide all of those things.
CR did find some cause for hope. Abt Electronics, in the Chicago area, and independent local stores garnered high praise from shoppers who bought a major appliance in the past year. For small appliances, independents also rated highly, along with Costco, though the standout was Amazon.com, as in past years.
CRs rankings for shopper satisfaction came from more than 21,000 respondents to its 2009 Appliance Shopper Satisfaction Survey. It also commissioned a separate, nationally representative Home Gripes survey of 1,405 homeowners about their experiences shopping at home stores. The
Hunt for Low Prices
Most people who responded
to the Shopper Satisfaction survey said they had decided on a store because
they were looking for low prices. That was especially true in the hunt
for small appliances. Almost 10 percent of small-appliance shoppers and
a third of those shopping for major appliances tried to negotiate for
a lower price. Of those, about seven in 10 succeeded, to the tune of $50
off their small appliance and $100 off a major one. An annoying problem
to watch out for, according to CRs Home Gripes survey: excessive delivery
or installation costs.
Service Makes A Big Difference
Besides price, the
expertise and manner of a stores sales staff were key reasons for choosing
a major appliance retailer, according to the CR Shopper Satisfaction Survey.
But respondents to the Home Gripes survey cited difficulty in finding
a useful salesperson at all as one of their chief shopping annoyances.
Salespeople who were arrogant or even nasty were especially bothersome
Selection is Important
Around a quarter of
major- and small-appliance shoppers chose retailers based on their reputation
for high-quality products. Retailers varied significantly on both counts.
Poor selection was a complaint for less than 5 percent of respondents
to CRs Shopper Satisfaction survey. But almost a quarter of small-appliance
shoppers at Sams Club complained that the store had too few brands or
models available for selection. For major appliances, no store scored
better than average for shopping ease.
Troubles Completing the Sale
Stores that push extended
warranties were among the top annoyances in CRs Home Gripes survey. In
the Shopper Satisfaction Survey, respondents who bought a major appliance
were much more likely than those buying small appliances to be hit with
an extended-warranty offer.
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