5 Ways to Score a Deal on a TV

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The holiday season was full of doorbuster deals on everything from clothing to electronics to housewares. And while televisions were among the discounted items during the holidays, expect to see even deeper discounts as it gets closer to Feb. 3 —  Super Bowl Sunday, which attracts more than 100 million viewers, many of whom will want a new TV to watch the game on.

If you’re in the market for a set, here’s how to get the best deal:

1. It’s all about research

Decide what size television you want to buy and a ballpark budget of how much you want to spend. Next, visit major electronics websites such as Amazon, Newegg and the online counterparts of bricks-and-mortar stores.

You’ll not only learn information about the specs of the TV, but be able to read customer reviews and narrow your search to a few TVs that seem most attractive.

2. Online vs. in store

Once you’ve determined the specific type and size of the TV, you have to figure out whether you’ll buy the TV online or in a store.

Chances are you’ll score free shipping for an online purchase. Should you need to return the item, though, it’s important to check the fine print of the retailer’s return policy. The shipping charges to return the TV may be deducted from your refund — and shipping a television back is a costly process.

Also be aware of restocking fees, which can be charged upon returning the item. While Best Buy doesn’t charge, Newegg warns consumers of a possible 15% restocking fee. “Ultimately, buying these bulky items online is not for the faint of heart and should be the result of careful research,” says Kendal Perez, savings expert for FreeShipping.org.

3. Price matching

Even if you find better TV deals online, this doesn’t mean the bricks-and-mortar stores won’t match that price. All you have to do is ask.

Show up to the store with print-outs of the online deals and ask the sales rep to match the competitor’s price. By buying in-store, you don’t have to worry about shipping charges and can walk out with the TV then and there. There’s also a benefit in being able to see the TV in person.

“It’s a lot easier to make an argument with numbers showing a competitor sells the TV for less,” says Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey. “Even if they can’t match the price completely, the retailer might be able to meet you in the middle.”

Head to PriceGrabber.com or download the PriceBlink app for your web browser to help find the cheapest retailers.

4. Warranties

The retailer may try to sell you a warranty for the television at an additional cost. This seems like a savvy decision, but major credit card issuers offer a warranty if you use the card to make the purchase.

“The credit card company will match the manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year. A television with a manufacturer’s warranty of one year will then be given an extra year for a total of two years of coverage,” says Julie Vlahon of TechBargains.com.

Vlahon says the Visa Signature, American Express and MasterCard Titanium, Platinum and World cards all fit this bill.

5. Don’t forget the cables

Aside from the television, you’ll need HDMI cables for your new HDTV — and these cables, known for ensuring even higher picture quality, don’t come cheap in the store.

“Cables are where the stores make huge markups, so buy the cables online,” Tran suggests.

Even if you’re buying the TV in-store, find out from the sales rep what cables you’ll need and head to the Web to score the best deals.

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