Consumer Report: Saving Money on Electronics

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

You always see a flurry of electronics sales around Black Friday. Often you can snag a great deal, but not always. However, a just-released Consumer Reports survey shows that some savvy negotiating can save you money day-in and day-out. Two-thirds of people who negotiated for a lower price got it. And guess what—you can even haggle when you're shopping online.

Consumer Reports interviewed a master at online bargaining. He saved more than $400 on his computer and $150 on his audio system. When he bought his new TV, he got a $100 gift certificate thrown in. He's one of more than 26,000 subscribers Consumer Reports surveyed on buying electronics.

The survey showed that those who bargained online were just as successful as those who bargained inside the stores.

Whether you're online or in the store, people had the most success haggling for prices on TVs, saving an average of $165. And computer buyers saved an average of $105 in another survey.

So how do you get the prices down? Consumer Reports says first check online for the lowest price. Then print out what you've found and take it to the store. Or if you're bargaining online, call the website's customer-service number. Tell the manager that you've found the product at xyz store for this amount, and ask whether he can beat it.

And if you're buying more than one item, say, "I want two of these things. What can you do to bring the price down?"

Consumer Reports says those negotiating techniques work in stores, too. And if you can't get the price down, ask for free accessories or free shipping.

Not all websites make it easy to find a phone number. If you don't see one on the home page, look under "Contact," "Help," or "Customer Service." And Consumer Reports says it may work to try to bargain online by sending an e-mail or using live chat, if the website offers it.

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