16 Things You Should Know About Shopping at an Electronics Store, Part 3: 5 Things You Should Know After You’ve Decided to Buy the Big Item

16 Things You Should Know About Shopping at an Electronics Store, Part 3: 5 Things You Should Know After You’ve Decided to Buy the Big Item post image

This article is Part 3 of a three part series: 16 Things You Should Know About Shopping at an Electronics Store

Part 1: 6 Things You Should Know Before You Go To the Store
Part 2: 5 Things You Should Know About the Sales Pitch
Part 3: 5 Things You Should Know After You’ve Decided to Buy the Big Item

5 Things You Should Know After You’ve Decided to Buy the Big Item

1. It’s Easier to Spend More Money After Committing to the Big Purchase – Call it the Law of Contrasts. Small items seem even smaller after looking at big items. After we have mentally decided to purchase a large-priced item, it’s easier to spend additional money on smaller items. Sales people know this. You’ve just decided to spend $1000 on a television. Cables for $100 each? Sure, if I need them. Cleaner for $30? Why not – I just spent $1000, what’s another $30 to keep it looking brand spanking new? It’s a fact that by contrast, those prices now do not seem high. If you went in the store just to find a cable, you’d find it ridiculous to spend $100 on it. But it’s not much compared to the television. Don’t fall into that trap. Question every item by itself. Is it a good deal?

2. Don’t Buy the Accessories at the Electronics Store. Remember those cables? Don’t touch them at an electronics store. Stores make a huge profit from them by charging you way too much. Stores make more from the profit on the cables than from the high end electronics. Here are two questions for you. Are the expensive brand-name cables, coated in gold, looking pretty, with wonderful packaging really worth more than the cheaper cables? The answer is generally, no. Here’s a great Marketplace video to watch that deals with that question.  I’m not convinced there is always zero difference; however, I do feel that you should do your research online first. Find out exactly what accessories are recommended for your product. The second question is: where should you buy them? You can go online for some great deals (but you’ll have to wait for shipping), or you can go to a cheaper department store and get some basic cables. Warehouse stores usually have great deals too. They won’t have much selection, but if they sell electronics, they’ll sell the basics to go with them.

3. Think Carefully Before Buying an Extended Warranty. Every electronics store wants to sell extended warranties on the product. Be careful. Salespeople may use fear tactics (you can’t afford not to get this); they may have their “true story” of the customer who regretted not getting it; they may try to convince you it’s a negligible monthly fee. Here’s a fact: Electronics stores make a lot of money by selling extended warranties, and many salespeople are pressured to push extended warranties. Consumer Reports states that stores keep an average of 50% from extended warranties; more profit than a lot of products. They also recommend that if you must get an extended warranty, spend no more than 20% of the item price on an extended warranty.

But here’s the thing: the extended warranty price, terms and conditions vary from store to store. Some are worth it, some are not. I was shopping recently for a cell phone, and at one store I was told that for only $10 per month, I could have insurance on a particular phone. $360 over 3 years. That was way more than 20% of the cost of the phone! After shopping around, I found another store that sold an almost identical 3 year plan for $54.95. Many electronics items are covered for the first year under manufacturers’ warranties. So the price of a two year extended warranty is just for the second year. Here’s something else to consider. If you ask the salesperson, you will generally find out that you have, say, 15 or 30 days, to come back and get that warranty. You may have to bring the item back to show that you aren’t buying a warranty after the item is damaged, but you have that option. Don’t be pressured.

Things to keep in mind about an extended warranty: 1. Research your product and its repair rate. Sites such as Consumer Reports will list repair rates for many products; 2. Check if the store extends the manufacturer’s warranty; 3. Check your credit cards. Some credit cards extend the manufacturer’s warranty; 4. Check to see how long after purchase you have to buy the extended warranty. Don’t be pressured on the spot (note, however, that you may have to bring the item back to show that it has not sustained damage – awkward for a television); 5. If you know you will want an extended warranty, price them out when you price-comparison shop for the actual product, as the warranties vary greatly; what is the total cost of the product plus warranty at a store? 6. Read the terms and conditions. Will the store exchange over the counter within the first year? Is there a lemon clause whereby it’s replaced if it has to be repaired a few times? 7. Check the return policy. Some warranties may be returned within 15 or 30 days if you change your mind.

4. Be Aware of the Dopamine Effect. When we’re about to make a big purchase, with a lot of anticipation, we experience increased dopamine levels in our brain, making us feel really good. This is well-documented in the growing neuromarketing field – for example, Martin Lindstrom has documented this in Buyology. This may be why people experience buyer’s regret later too. Once the purchase has been made and the dopamine has subsided, sometimes people question their purchase. Be aware of the dopamine effect. It’s intense right at the purchase time – sometimes simply awareness of it can make us more logical about our decisions.

So you’ve made your purchase. But it’s not over yet – one last tip.

5. Be Aware of the Post-Purchase Price Guarantee. Many electronics stores have a 30 day price guarantee (or some form of post-purchase guarantee). Use it – you may find that television you purchase drops by $200 when the new model comes out next month. Bring your receipt in, and you’ll get reimbursed that amount.

And there you go. Some tips, some awareness, and lots of research on your part, and you’ll be happy with your exhilarating electronics purchase.

Read the other parts of the article:

Part 1: 6 Things You Should Know Before You Go To the Store
Part 2: 5 Things You Should Know About the Sales Pitch
Part 3: 5 Things You Should Know After You’ve Decided to Buy the Big Item

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