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Where to shop

Some retailers stood out for price or service but didn't ace everything

Consumer Reports magazine: August 2010

If you're 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 recent surveys from the Consumer Reports National Research Center show that no one retailer was able to provide all of those things.

We 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.

The rankings for shopper satisfaction come from more than 21,000 respondents to our 2009 Appliance Shopper Satisfaction Survey. We also commissioned a separate, nationally representative Home Gripes survey of 1,405 homeowners about their experiences shopping at home stores.

From those surveys, we found what was most important to most people when shopping and where they were most likely to find satisfaction.

The hunt for low prices

Most people who responded to our 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. There was also good news for hagglers. 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 our Home Gripes survey: excessive delivery or installation costs.

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