Consumer Reports Survey: Abt Electronics, and QVC Top List of Appliance-Store Ratings

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Appliance Shopping Survey Part of Consumer Reports' 25-page Annual Kitchen Buying Guide

In Consumer Reports’ latest survey of appliance retailers, and QVC earned high marks for small-appliance purchases while Abt Electronics and independent walk-ins continued to be among the most highly rated major appliance stores.

    Consumer Reports’ Ratings of major- and small-appliance retailers are based on more than 22,800 respondents to its latest Appliance Shopper Satisfaction Survey and are featured in the July 2013 issue of Consumer Reports and online at

    Low prices and strong service helped put QVC, which sells merchandise mostly online and via TV and phone, up there with in Consumer Reports’ Ratings of stores for small-appliance purchases. The survey revealed that roughly twice as many subscribers bought coffeemakers, food processors and even some large appliances online in 2007.

    For major appliances, superb selection was among the qualities that landed Chicago-based Abt Electronics on the top of Consumer Reports' Ratings. Abt Electronics was also the only store in the category that matched independent local retailers for service, which was a quality that heavily influenced how satisfied subscribers were with major-appliance stores overall. The retailer received overall praise for its prices, selection and all-around shopping experience.

“Even if shoppers don’t hit the ‘buy’ button online, they can still benefit from browsing retailers’ sites for price comparisons,” said Bob Markovich, home and yard editor at Consumer Reports. “No retailer earned perfect marks across the board, but all of the major stores in our survey offered a price policy to “meet or beat” other retailers, putting the power in shoppers’ hands to haggle for the best deals.”

                                                    Appliance Shopping Tips

        Here are some ways consumers can be successful when shopping for appliances:

1.    Go online to prepare. More than 90 percent of Consumer Reports readers who researched online said doing so was helpful. Price-comparison websites topped their list of strategies.
2.    Feel free to haggle. People in Consumer Reports' survey who tried haggling had something to show for it: a 74 percent success rate for major appliances and 66 percent for small appliances. The median savings was $95 for major appliances and $58 for small ones. A top strategy of successful hagglers was searching for better prices at other stores, called “showrooming.”
3.    Don't get lured into extra coverage. P.C. Richard & Son, which received mediocre selection and service scores in Consumer Reports' survey, was among the pushiest when it came to extended warranties. Sears and HHGregg stores were also more likely than other retailers to push added coverage. Consumer Reports’ extensive research has shown that repairs during the extended-warranty period are likely to cost roughly the same as the warranty.

    The Appliance Retail Satisfaction Survey is part of Consumer Reports' 25-page July issue cover story on how to find the best and worst deals in appliances, countertops, flooring and more to create a dream kitchen without sacrificing savings.

    In addition to appliance shopping advice, Consumer Reports' kitchen guide names new appliance winners – Kenmore's Elite 12783 dishwasher ($1,200) knocked Bosch from the top of the Ratings – and identifies new appliance features including the 8-inch display on Samsung's RSG309AARS refrigerator ($2,200) which lets users see recipes from Epicurious, check news and weather, and plan events with Google Calendar.

    Consumer Reports tested more than 830 products to bring readers the latest Ratings and buying advice for kitchen essentials. Experts washed more than 5,428 items, used 3,750 sensors to measure temperature, melted 424 ounces of chocolate, broiled 3,384 burgers, baked 11,280 cookies, dropped 4,327 pounds of weight on the floor and applied 924 stains to test dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, wall ovens, cooktops, flooring and countertops.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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MAY 2013
© 2013 Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®,® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

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