Shopping Tips

Before you shop the City's many electronics stores, read the following shopping tips from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs: ELECTRONICS STORE CONSUMERS You can find big bargains at New York City's electronics stores but you can also get ripped off... more

Before you shop the City's many electronics stores, read the following shopping tips from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs: ELECTRONICS STORE CONSUMERS You can find big bargains at New York City's electronics stores but you can also get ripped off. Each year, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs responds to around 700 complaints about electronics stores and issues some 1,000 violations. Follow these tips and watch out for the common scams. SHOPPING TIPS 1. Shop around ! You're likely to get a better buy if you look in more than one store. Don't forget you pay 8.375% tax in addition to the marked price on an item. 2. Read the refund policy. The store's refund policy must be posted in a prominent location. Be aware that a "no refund" policy is legal as long as it's posted. If there is no posted policy, you have the right to a full refund if you return the item within twenty days. 3. Get all itemized receipt. In New York, it's required by law for purchases over $20; at the customer's option for items costing $5-$20. Check that the receipt includes the price, brand name and description of item purchased, tax, date, name and address of store. 4.... more

Before you shop the City's many electronics stores, read the following shopping tips from the Dept. of Consumer Affairs:

ELECTRONICS STORE CONSUMERS

You can find big bargains at New York City's electronics stores but you can also get ripped off. Each year, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs responds to around 700 complaints about electronics stores and issues some 1,000 violations. Follow these tips and watch out for the common scams.

SHOPPING TIPS

1. Shop around ! You're likely to get a better buy if you look in more than one store. Don't forget you pay 8.375% tax in addition to the marked price on an item.

2. Read the refund policy. The store's refund policy must be posted in a prominent location. Be aware that a "no refund" policy is legal as long as it's posted. If there is no posted policy, you have the right to a full refund if you return the item within twenty days.

3. Get all itemized receipt. In New York, it's required by law for purchases over $20; at the customer's option for items costing $5-$20. Check that the receipt includes the price, brand name and description of item purchased, tax, date, name and address of store.

4. Read the warranty. Think twice about expensive additional warranties. Mail in the warranty registration as soon as possible and keep your copy in a safe place.

5. Be wary of gray-market merchandise, goods manufactured to be sold outside the U.S. and excluded from domestic warranties. Do not buy electronics from street vendors.

6. Familiarize yourself with the merchandise you're shopping for by checking out Consumer Reports or a similar guide which has ratings of most consumer electronics.

WATCH OUT FOR THESE SCAMS

Advertized specials that are out of stock. After you're told the item is unavailable, the salesperson urges you to buy something more expensive or of lower quality. To avoid this classic "bait and switch" scam, know what you want before entering the store and stick to your guns.

Repackaging items and charging extra. Some consumer electronics stores take accessories, such as batteries, special cables and carrying cases, out of the box and charge extra. Make sure everything listed on the box is actually in the box before you walk out of the store.

Used goods sold as new. It's tough to distinguish used or rebuilt goods from new ones. Any item that isn't new has to be labeled, but many are not. If the label says "used", "floor model", "rebuilt", or "refurbished," then it's not new.

Targeting tourist. Beware of salespeople who ask where you're from or how long you're going to be in town. They may be setting you up for a scam on the premise that you won't be around long enough to complain.

Deceptive price tags. Electronics stores must disclose if they are charging more than the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), but many stores do not. In addition, some stores mislabel price tags displayed in shop windows or sales counters. You can check the MSRP for most items before you enter the store by calling the manufacturer's 800 number. If you shop around you should find prices at or below the MSRP.

Credit card scams. Some stores add digits to credit card slips after consumers sign them, turning a $29.95 purchase into a $129.96 expense. Check your credit card receipt carefully before you leave the store, and keep all receipts.


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