Tips for saving on electronics
Published Monday, November 8, 2010 4:59PM PST
Can't wait for the New Year to save on your electronics? A just-released survey shows savvy negotiating can save you money right now even when you're shopping online.
Gene Menzies saved more than $400 on a computer he purchased recently and $150 on this audio system.
When he bought his new TV, he got a $100 gift certificate thrown in. And he got all that by bargaining – online.
"When I buy online and do some of this bargaining, I'll be saving 10 to 20 per cent over what I find in the store," he said.
Menzies is one of more than 26,000 subscribers to Consumer Reports who were recently surveyed on their electronic purchases.
"We found that people who bargained online were just as successful as those who bargained inside the stores themselves," Tod Marks of Consumer Reports said.
Whether you're online or in the store, people had the most success haggling for prices on televisions, saving an average of $165. And computer buyers saved an average of $105 in another survey.
So how do you get the prices down?
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 like Menzies, call the website's customer-service number.
"I say, 'I've found it at XYZ store for this amount, can you beat it?'" he said.
And if you're buying more than one item, Menzies has another bargaining trick.
"I said, 'Look, I want two of these things. What can you do?' And they gave me ten per cent off."
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.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen