Need to know
- Over 6000 CHOICE members answered our survey on best and worst retailers in Australia
- Betta has the best bricks and mortar shop experience
- Appliances Online has the best online shop experience
If you're going to buy an appliance or electronic goods, you're likely to head to an electronics appliance shop or buy online through a store. Over 80% of us are still heading into stores, so as much as we hear about the online shopping experience taking over, it's a slow growth, though fast compared to bricks and mortar shopping growth.
Best instore overall satisfaction: Betta
took out our most coveted first spot, with many praising it for its customer
service, delivery and after-sales service. While the range of products and
brands was average, as was value for money, it certainly outperformed most competitors in
these areas. Retravision scored almost as well as Betta, and had a better range of products and brands. We
didn't have enough survey respondents to know how Retravision's delivery and
after-sales service stacked up.
Worst instore overall satisfaction: Target
The budget department stores, such as Big W, Kmart and Target were consistently rated lower than others in almost all categories except value for money; however Target came out worst of all. Kmart and Target had low scores for range or products and brands, and many respondents said it was difficult to find customer service instore.
Pressure to buy extended warranties
We had more than a few comments around extended warranties and how sales people push them. Check out our CHOICE Help page to find out more about extended warranties and how much of an unnecessary expense they are. 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.
The online craze hit us years ago; whether we are impulse buying, or spend hours poring over reviews (we strongly recommend you visit ours, as they are science-based) the hit of dopamine and the strong sense of regret some days later when whatever we've purchased is delivered doesn't seem to be abating. But our survey uncovered some strong feelings about which stores deserve your business.
Best online shop for overall satisfaction: Appliances Online
Appliances Online topped every category in our survey. We've had plenty of good feedback for Appliances Online anecdotally over the last few years, and even this writer has had some good experiences. For such a young company (2005) to have gained so much ground over the last decade is a good thing.
Worst online shop for overall satisfaction: Harvey Norman
While not a terrible performance from Harvey Norman, they still score 13 points lower than Appliances Online. For a company that's been in the industry a long time and makes a fair amount of money, it's surprising they haven't invested more heavily in online sales and the accompanying services.
Read more: Should you buy electrical appliances online?
Extended warranty sold in online stores
One of the things we were disappointed to see is how many extended warranties are being sold online using pre-selected check boxes – a kind of drip-pricing. The ACCC picked up on this sort of behaviour by the airlines a couple of years ago, and convinced companies like Jetstar and Virgin Australia to stop pre-selecting extras like checked baggage, seat selection, travel insurance and charity donations.
When even the airline industry, one with significant issues, thinks pre-ticked extras are a step too far, you have to wonder what some online stores such as Appliances Online and The Good Guys are thinking. While it's not against the law, at CHOICE we think it's dodgy practice for any industry to drip-feed additional expenses to consumers. It's particularly galling when the extra expense is for an extended warranty, a type of product that often just sells you rights that you already have under the Australian Consumer Law. Given Appliances Online comes off so well in our survey, we would expect more of them.
The only stores online that don't offer extended warranties and do the decent thing are Amazon, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi and Myer. Other online retailers offer it but don't default to having the option ticked. 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.