Online stores, independent local retailers, and even a TV shopping channel have been among the most satisfying places to buy, according to a Consumer Reports survey of more than 16,000 subscribers about their recent appliance purchases. Abt Electronics, a Chicago-area retailer that ships nationwide, reaped praise from shoppers who purchased one or more appliances in the past year. Amazon and the QVC shopping channel led the list for small appliances. The publication suggests these tips for shopping. Plan ahead by browsing the retailers’ Web sites beforehand to get purchasing information, and waiting until the winter holidays and the early fall to take advantage of big sales. Buyers can sometimes combine special offers from a product’s manufacturer and from a store, or save by buying multiple appliances. But first the consumer must find the offers. By signing up on a retailer’s Web site weeks before a purchase, a purchaser can get emails offering coupons and other promotional deals such as rebates, free shipping, and so-called VIP sales. Haggling frequently helps as well, according to the 35 percent of major-appliance buyers who attempted to negotiate prices: 72 percent of them said they were successful. The reward was a median savings of $97. Just 8 percent of small-appliance shoppers tried to bargain, but 62 percent negotiated a lower price and saved a median of $59.
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