Getting the best prices on appliances: The one thing you should know

Nydia Han Image
Thursday, June 29, 2023

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If your fridge is on the fritz or you need another kind of appliance, we have the information you need to know to save money.

The savings strategy might surprise you. There is one thing you can do to get a real discount off the list price.

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"We shopped for more than 20 different appliance models among area retailers here in the Delaware Valley area," said Kevin Brasler of Consumers' Checkbook.

Brasler says when it comes to pricing, retailers are bound by the manufacturers' "Minimum Advertised Price."

"They can sell them for below that minimum amount, but they can't advertise them for less than that," said Brasler.

So Checkbook's undercover shoppers found advertised prices at big box stores and independent retailers are about the same. And even advertised so-called sales, claiming 40 to 60-percent off, aren't really a bargain.

"We've been tracking sale prices for more than a decade at Checkbook and we find that most sale prices aren't really legitimate, that they're fake discounts where the store takes this list price and discounts off of it, but rarely, if ever, charges that list price," said Brasler.

But there is one way to pay below the advertised price: contact several independent stores - and bargain!

"So what our shoppers found is that if we contacted local stores, especially independent stores, where their salespeople have some price flexibility, and said, 'Look, I'm shopping around, you know, what's the best price you can offer me, including delivery and installation for specific appliances?' We got even lower prices than those minimums," said Brasler.

And local appliance stores get far higher ratings on time delivery and service.

Several local appliance stores offer the lowest prices, according to Checkbook.

The Original Lakes Appliance & TV (with locations in Medford and Mount Holly, New Jersey) offers prices that are 7-percent lower and is rated by customers' 94-percent for overall quality.

Blonder's Discount Appliance Center (in Levittown, Pa.) also has prices that are 7-percent lower with a 93-percent rating.

The one big box store with low prices is Costco. Prices there are 10-percent lower than average.

For 6abc viewers: Delaware Valley Consumers' Checkbook Appliance Buying Guide. Through a special arrangement with 6abc, Delaware Valley Consumers' Checkbook is providing temporary free access to their appliance buying advice and ratings of local appliance stores.