A fair number of major-appliance shoppers went to a retailer because the store stocked a particular brand or model, and more than half the retailers in our Major-Appliance Retailer Ratings scored highly for selection. For small-appliance shoppers, only Amazon got our top mark in this category.
Shopping tip: About one-third of major appliance shoppers who bought an appliance online checked it out at a walk-in store first--and then saved nearly $70, on average. But don't rule out walk-in stores when it comes to the buying itself: Major stores tend to offer "meet or beat" price policies. Stores may also sweeten the deal in other ways, including free shipping and installation.
Aside from independent local retailers, the only two chain retailers who received top ratings for customer service are Abt Electronics (for major appliances) and Ace Hardware (for small appliances).In judging service, our readers evaluated direct contact with store personnel, in the store or over the phone. Almost all respondents shopping for a major appliance at a walk-in store interacted with sales staff, though less than half of those shopping for a small appliance did so. Only 13 percent complained of problems with sales staffers; the most common complaints were that a salesperson didn't seem knowledgeable or that it took too long to find someone to help.
Shopping tip: Shoppers who haggled typically saved about $100 on major appliances and $40 on small ones. Here's a winning tactic from one of our Facebook followers: See whether you can buy a floor model or one that's slightly blemished (in a spot that won't show) for less. And try to get any fees for shipping, installation, and haul-away waived.