Finance Consumer Shoppers rank Australia’s best and worst electrical and household appliance retailers

Shoppers rank Australia’s best and worst electrical and household appliance retailers

Consumers had their say on big names including Target, Kmart, Harvey Norman and more. Photo: Getty
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Shopping for a new washing machine, fridge, oven, or vacuum cleaner can be a stressful exercise.

Researching electrical goods and household appliances may feel like a mundane task, but these goods play an important role in our daily lives, so the pressure to find the right product at the best price is high.

In an effort to make buying electrical goods a less painful experience, consumer advocates Choice polled more than 6000 shoppers in their Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Survey to find the nation’s best appliance stores – both brick and mortar and online.

Shoppers decide: Best and worst bricks and mortar stores

Betta Home Living came out on top as the No.1 bricks and mortar appliance store in the country, according to Choice’s survey.

Survey participants were asked to rate appliance stores on the following criteria:

  • Range of products and brands available
  • Value for money
  •  Customer service
  • Delivery
  • After-sales service

Betta scored first place in Choice’s survey on physical appliance stores, and received high praise for its customer service both in store and post-purchase – a crucial factor when it comes to electrical goods.

“Choice members commented that staff in Betta stores were very helpful and knowledgeable,” Choice director of reviews and testing Matt Steen said.

“If there were any problems with products purchased, they were quickly resolved.”

Betta also received good reviews for delivery and after-sales service.

At the other end of the spectrum was discount department store Target, which scored a “dismal” 65 per cent on overall customer satisfaction.

A lack of staff available to provide assistance in Target stores was a major bugbear for customers.

“Target was consistently called out for the fact that it was often difficult to access customer service in their stores,” Mr Steen said.

Target also flunked on delivery, tying in last place with Kmart on the key metric.

Best and worst online stores

Appliances Online was the “clear winner” when it came to online retailers.

“We’ve had plenty of good feedback for Appliances Online anecdotally over the last few years,” Mr Steen said.

“In this particular survey, they’ve topped every category we’ve asked about.”

Billionaire businessman Gerry Harvey’s household goods, electronics and appliances empire Harvey Norman was last.

“The problems seemed endless with Harvey Norman,” Mr Steen said.

“Delivery time, expense, installation and problems with breakages in delivery were all issues brought up by Choice members in our survey.”

Extended warranties a concern

The survey results also highlighted the practice of stores pressuring shoppers into buying costly extended warranties of questionable value.

“We had more than a few comments around extended warranties and how sales people push them,” Mr Steen said.

“We’ve researched terms and conditions on these and in many circumstances found they were useless, so take a look at the T&Cs before plunking down hard-earned cash for some imaginary need marketers have.

“If you feel you have been unduly pressured into accepting an extended warranty, you can lodge a complaint with the ACCC.”

Online stores were the worst offenders, with many employing the tactic of selling extended warranties using pre-selected check boxes.

The only online stores that don’t offer extended warranties and “do the decent thing” are Amazon, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi and Myer, Mr Steen said.

“Other online retailers offer it but don’t default to having the option ticked,” he said.

“Special mention to Harvey Norman who on every page toward purchase keeps pestering you for the extended warranty, but at least don’t tick it by default.”

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