Saving on electronics

FRESNO, Calif.

There are free apps that you can download to your smart phone to do price comparisons. They can let you know which store has the item you want at the lowest price. Two worthwhile apps are PriceGrabber and SnapTell. They let you type in the product's name or scan bar codes to find the best price. And there are other ways to save.

Consumer Reports asked about 23,000 of its readers about their electronics buying experiences. got top marks for prices. National electronic chains such as Radio Shack and Best Buy rated no better than average for price in the survey.

No matter where you shop, Consumer Reports says that it always pays to bargain. Find the lowest price you possibly can, then go to the store and ask the manager if he can meet or beat that price. The survey found that people who tried bargaining were successful two out of three times. With TVs, the median savings was more than $100.

And even online shoppers can bargain. Bargaining online may seem counterintuitive, but you can really score some good deals. The first thing to do is to get a live customer-service representative. Sites such as and can help you find the customer service numbers you'll need.

Consumer Reports says another way to negotiate for a lower price is to offer to pay in cash. That way merchants don't have to pay credit-card fees. And avoid asking for a better deal with a lot of people standing nearby. The store manager is not likely to say "yes" in front of a crowd. And wherever you're negotiating for a better deal, it pays to be polite.

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