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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 17, 2018 1:00 am

Tips for buying appliances

It's no secret a kitchen appliance is a major purchase. So you might be surprised to learn some of these clever money-saving tips from industry insiders.

Don't focus on seasonal sales. You don't want to wait until your refrigerator or oven breaks before replacing it, but you don't need to time your purchases around Memorial Day, Black Friday or other sales events, either.

“If you look at advertisements for appliances, you'll see appliances are always on sale,” says Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Consumers' Checkbook. “It's just one sale after another. But when you look at the prices they're offering, they're roughly the same.” Indeed, a 10-month investigation by Checkbook's mystery shoppers found that the sales prices – even heavily discounted sales prices – on home appliances at many well-known stores are more often than not the usual prices.

Get quotes via email. No surprise, it pays to shop around when buying kitchen appliances. But many consumers make the mistake of physically going to stores for quotes when they should be obtaining them through email, Brasler says.

Doing so will not only help you save time but also protect you from succumbing to a salesperson's face-to-face negotiating tactics. Plus, “it forces stores to compete for your business,” Brasler says.

Look past advertised prices. Most appliance manufacturers dictate the minimum prices at which stores can advertise their products, explains Dean Schwartz, president of home appliances at Sears. In other words, just because something is listed at a certain price doesn't mean you can't get a better deal.

Don't rely on haggling. Some shoppers bargain with retailers over appliances, but that doesn't always lead to the best deal. A better approach, Brasler says, is to simply ask stores for their best price upfront when gathering quotes. “This way you remove the entire negotiation process,” Brasler says.

Make sure you're getting the “all-in price” that includes installation and delivery costs and taxes.

Compare policies on price-matching. If you have a favorite retailer, see whether the shop is willing to match the best price you obtained. Many big retailers do.

When hunting for deals, look at both online and in-store promotions. (They don't always match, Schwartz says.)

Check for utility rebates. A lot of shoppers don't cash in on utility rebates, says Dan DiClerico, home expert at HomeAdvisor. You can search for rebates on Energy Star appliances at energystar.gov/rebate-finder and on your utility company's website.

Resist extended warranties. Extended warranties are highly profitable for stores but rarely a good deal for consumers, Brasler and DiClerico say.

Bundle. If you're buying more than one appliance, you can save a bundle by bundling. According to DiClerico, buying three or more appliances together could reap up to 20 percent in discounts.

Hire a contractor for installation. A number of retailers charge steep fees for installation services. Try hiring a licensed plumber, electrician or HVAC contractor to install appliances at a cheaper price.

Buy secondhand. On a tight budget? Buying used appliances can be a great way to cut costs, but you have to shop smart.

One reputable place to purchase gently used appliances is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, an independently owned shop that donates a portion of its proceeds to the nonprofit organization.

– Daniel Bortz, Washington Post