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Consumer NZ survey reveals top-rated retailers

Big-box retailers lag behind the little guys when it comes to keeping their customers satisfied, Consumer NZ’s latest survey shows.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said big chains Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming were again outclassed by 100% Appliances.

“If you’re buying a new appliance, whether it’s a fridge or a TV, you’re more likely to get good service from 100% Appliances than Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming,” Ms Chetwin said.

Consumer NZ’s annual survey found 82 percent of customers who bought a major appliance from 100% Appliances were very satisfied with the service they got. Kitchen Things also rated significantly above average for major appliance purchases.

In comparison, 70 percent of Harvey Norman customers and 68 percent of Noel Leeming's were very satisfied.

The survey also found Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming, along with Smiths City, were much more likely to offer extended warranties. More than two-thirds of their customers said they’d been offered a warranty when they purchased whiteware or cooking appliances.

“Selling extended warranties is a nice little earner for retailers. But if you're buying goods for personal use, you're paying for protection you already have under the Consumer Guarantees Act,” Ms Chetwin said.

Among customers buying computers and mobiles, Apple Store rated as a favourite in Consumer NZ’s survey. More than eight out of 10 customers scored the retailer highly.

In contrast, people buying computing equipment from Warehouse Stationery were the least likely to be satisfied (52 percent) with the service they received. Sister store The Warehouse rated below average (54 percent) in the home technology category.

Bed's R Us took top spot among furniture and bedding retailers, with a satisfaction score of 88 percent.
Consumer NZ’s shopping tips
• Ignore the extended warranty sales pitch. The Consumer Guarantees Act has you covered if the product you buy isn’t of acceptable quality.
• Don’t fall for “sale” prices that aren’t saving you money. Do your homework before hitting the stores so you can pick the genuine bargains.
• Interest-free deals seldom come without fees attached. Before you sign up, check what you’ll be paying.
• Don’t be taken in by “no returns or refunds” signs. When a retailer sells you a product that’s not of acceptable quality, it has to put things right.
• If you’re buying gift cards this holiday season, check whether the card has an expiry date and where it can be used. You can always give cash instead to avoid your gift “expiring” before it can be used.

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