Consumer Reports ranks electronics stores

Independents, Costco get top ratings in survey

With electronics expected to be big for the holidays again this year, Consumer Reports surveyed 21,000 subscribers to find the best places to shop.

Independent stores came out on top.

"Your local independent stores tend to have a very good selection of products, and they tend to have high quality products, higher than some of the other walk-in or big chain stores have," said Consumer Reports' Carol Mangis.

Customers services was considered top-notch at independents.

When it comes to price, Costco ruled.  Costco also has a generous return policy. 

The warehouse store rated below par for customer service, however, and you do need to pay for membership.

Apple got high marks for customer service and quality products.

Walmart landed at the bottom of the chart with low marks for customer services and  selection.  Overall, though, customers were generally satisfied.

If you want to let your fingers do the shopping, there's good news.  Websites outdid walk-in stores for quality selection and price.

Two standout websites are www.bhphotovideo.com  and www.crutchfield.com.

"They make it quite easy for you to get in touch with them if you have questions," Mangis said. "You can call them directly or e-mail them, or you can open up a live chat window as you shop.

And, there are no long checkout lines.

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