Saving with 6abc: Buying electronics

November 29, 2011

At least one device or gadget is likely to be on your buying list this season. Electronics make up one of the hottest gift categories.

To get the best deal, don't just take the first price you see. Andrea Colao saved $150 on a sound system for her TV.

"There's such a variety of price points, you want to get the best deal possible," Colao said.

There are free apps you can download to your smart phone to do price comparisons. They can let you know which store has the item you want at the lowest price.

(V/O) Two worthwhile apps are PriceGrabber and SnapTell. Just type in the product's name or scan bar codes to find the best price.

"We asked about 23,000 of our readers to tell us about their electronics buying experiences. got top marks for prices."

National electronic chains like Radio Shack and Best Buy rated no better than average for price in the survey.

"No matter where you shop, it always pays to bargain. Find the lowest price you possibly can, then go to the store and ask the manager if they can meet or beat that price."

The survey found people who tried bargaining were successful two out of three times. With TVs, the median savings was more than $100. Even online shoppers can bargain.

"Bargaining online may seem counterintuitive," according to Tod Marks with Consumer Reports, "but you can really score some good deals. The first thing to do is to get a live customer-service representative."

Sites like Get-human and Dial-a-human can help you find those customer-service numbers you'll need. And it pays to be polite.

Another way to negotiate for a lower price is to offer to pay in cash. That way merchants don't have to pay credit card fees. Also, avoid asking for a better deal with a lot of people standing nearby. The store manager is not likely to say, "yes" in front of a crowd.

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