Thursday, November 29, 2007
This is the electronics buying season. By the end of the year, we're expected to spend close to $50 billion on electronics products, but with so many places to buy televisions, DVDs, and all the rest, which ones are the best?
It was Consumer Reports National Research Center that surveyed its subscribers to find the best places to shop for big-screen TVs and other electronic goodies and the answers were a surprise.
Looking for a new flat-screen TV? Most people's first thought is to go to a store, where they can check out the picture and hopefully get some good advice.
Donato Vaccaro of Consumer Reports National Research Center found something surprising in its survey, covering 33,000 electronics purchases.
"In every category of electronic products that we asked about, including digital cameras, camcorders, TVs, we found that when people purchased things online, they were more satisfied," said Vaccaro.
One of the best-liked sites was Crutchfield. It got high marks for selection and customer service. A big plus, Crutchfield promises "free lifetime tech support" on anything you buy.
Top ratings also went to Amazon, and Amazon was one of the best Web sites for low prices.
To make sure you're getting the best price online, Consumer Reports says it's a good idea to check a shopping 'bot, such as Bizrate, Dealtime, MySimon, Shopping.com, or Yahoo.
"Shopping 'bots make it easy for you to compare prices, but you have to be careful and make sure you're looking at the taxes and shipping charges as well," said Vaccaro.
And you can check online for coupons and other money savers at sites like CouponCabin, FatWallet.com, and Ebates.
With just a little clicking around, you can maximize your savings on electronic purchases this holiday season.
Consumer Reports' survey found some of the best prices are at Costco stores and Costco.com. You do have to pay a $50 membership fee and the selection isn't extensive. Both the Costco stores and the Web site have a liberal return policy.
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