Electronics are likely to be some of the hottest gifts again this holiday season. To find the best places to shop, Consumer Reports surveyed more than 21,000 of its subscribers and can tell you where to buy everything from tablets to big-screen TVs.
Your local independent stores tend to have a very good selection of products, and they tend to have high-quality products, higher than some of the other walk-in or big-chain stores have. And customer service at independent stores is often top-notch.
But Costco topped the ratings in one category—price. Costco has a generous return policy for electronics. But you do have to pay for a membership, and their customer service leaves a little to be desired.
Among all the stores in the ratings, Walmart came in at the bottom of the chart. It got low marks for customer service and selection, though overall its customers were generally satisfied.
If you want to let your fingers do the shopping, there’s good news. Consumer Reports found that websites outdid walk-in stores for quality, selection, and price. BHPhotoVideo.com and Crutchfield.com were among the standouts. And Crutchfield ranked especially high for customer service.
Another tip from Consumer Reports—whether you’re shopping in a store or online, it pays to ask for a better deal. The survey showed that shoppers who bargained were successful most of the time.
Complete ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars and trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.