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Insider Tips

How can we be of service? Let us count the ways. We actually mean service – unlike those who have promised it before and didn’t show up when it counted most. Consider these insider tips your key to consumer affairs.
Couple buying kitchen appliances

Buying Kitchen Appliances: How to Shop and Save Like an Expert

It’s no question that your kitchen appliances need to work well. From stoves to fridges, toasters to dishwashers, these are all important in preparing for and cleaning up after a meal. They should be safe, durable, and effective. So, when it comes to a kitchen appliance, which should you splurge on, and which ones can you save on? We're here to guide you with some tips for buying the perfect kitchen appliance.

Splurge or scrimp?

Buying cheap appliances for your kitchen might end up costing you more in the long run. Let us explain a good approach to budgeting for your kitchen appliances. Let’s start by prioritising which appliances are worth investing in.

Let’s talk about size: the larger the appliance, the more difficult it is to replace. This is especially true for the ones that need to fit specific dimensions like ovens, stove tops and fridges. These big ticket appliances are the ones you should spend more of your money on upfront.

Does this mean you should automatically purchase from big brands to ensure quality? Or is it okay to shop on a budget and buy from less established brands? With established brands that promise top quality, you usually spend more. The thing is, as much as quality and price should match, they don’t always.

A good starting point is to check the manufacturer’s warranty on offer for the appliance. This piece of paper usually indicates how much the manufacturer can assure you of the performance of their product. It shows their confidence in the goods they offer since it guarantees repairs, replacements, and refunds.

But beware of buying an extended warranty as the law essentially gives you a warranty, free of charge.

You might also want to think of long-term use and value. Aside from its durability in the long run, branded appliances also add to the marketability of your home. If you choose to sell it in the future, in your sales listing you can include that your fixed appliances are from well-known brands. European brands, for example, are known makers of pyrolytic and induction appliances in Australia. They offer top caliber construction and striking designs that have lasting appeal. Your property will be more marketable with these popular choices because of the brand's credibility.

Can I haggle for kitchen appliance prices?

Yes, absolutely, you can haggle. Getting a good deal isn’t only about price or discounts. You can negotiate add-ons like cashback offers, waived delivery fees, discounts for bundle purchasing, or free complimentary items like coffee capsules.

Couple looking at refrigerator

Plus you don’t need to do the haggling face-to-face. The thing about haggling is that you have to know the value of the kitchen appliance you're wanting to buy. So, you need to do your research! And here are six hacks you can explore:

1. Ask for quotes

As well as looking for prices online, shop around for ‘in-store’ prices from the comfort of your home by emailing stores. In your virtual letter, give them all the details of what you’re after, the price, and any inclusions. You want to make it simple so the person who receives your email can come back with a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to your request. This will save you time since you eliminate the need for communicating back and forth.

2. Find current and expired promotional sales

Ongoing sales are easy to find, but you can also look for deals that have passed. Don’t be afraid to ask a store to reignite an expired deal! You never know, they might just extend it for you.

For current sales, time your purchases. One thing to keep a lookout for are end-of-season discounts. If you have time, you might also want to wait for end of financial year sales, which are usually in June.

3. Get the display model

Purchasing the unit on display can actually save you more bucks than buying items from out the back. The drawback is that the unit may have minor issues like scratches because it's out in the open. If you're not too picky about getting your item in pristine condition, this is one way to go.

4. Pay in cash

Retailers usually prefer cash over credit as they want to skip the hassle of administrative costs like credit card surcharges. If you don’t need to pay with your credit card, get the cash discount.

5. Request a price match

If there are some reasons you’d rather purchase from a specific retailer, do your research with other retailers first so you know the exact price difference between the lowest price and purchasing from your preferred retailer.

Ask if they will do a price-match or offer other deals like free installation or complementary products. Yup, some department stores will match online offers. Search for the best deals online and see if your go-to store will give you its equivalent.

6. Think long-term

New appliances tend to be more advanced, hence more energy efficient and can save you more dollars in the long run. With refrigerators, for example, recent models are likely to be 45 percent more energy efficient than ones manufactured five years ago.

To know how much larger kitchen appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers consume, look for energy star ratings. These big ticket items are required to display an Energy Rating Label which tells you how much energy each appliance will consume, indicating how much money it will cost to operate these larger appliances. The key thing you should remember is, more stars mean more energy efficiency.

The standard star rating system for most products is a 1-6, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any labeled with the maximum of 10 stars!

Registered brands with energy ratings include:

  • Samsung
  • LG
  • Kogan
  • Miele
  • Fisher & Paykel

To compare models, you can use this calculator from the Australian Government’s Energy Rating website.

Is it better to buy overseas?

It may be cheaper, but it isn't always better.

More than ever, it's now easier to buy products from abroad. Buying from an overseas merchant may seem like an irresistible bargain, but there's a catch: the item won't be covered by the Australian Consumer Law. This is a big deal since you’re essentially forgoing a pretty good regulated warranty.

What is the Australian Consumer Law?

Kid looking at a book

According to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), everything you buy in Australia, kitchen appliance included, has to last for at least 12 months. Keyword: at least. The ACL goes further by ensuring that premium items last longer than that. The guideline is, your item should last a ‘reasonable length of time’ for the amount that you pay.

Let’s say you bought a family-sized fridge for $200 and it stops working after a year. Since it’s relatively inexpensive, it makes it trickier to argue that the fridge should work for longer than 12 months from the date of purchase. But if you buy a refrigerator for $2000, for example, it’s a lot easier to contend that it should last for more than 12 months.

The ACL ensures the quality of a product for a minimum of one year. However, a quality manufacturer will also offer warranties up to 10 years with longer warranties for bigger appliances. They may also have additional warranties of five or 10 years for specific components like oven trimmings or refrigerator compressors and motors.

It’s safe to say that refrigerators, dishwashers, and other larger appliances from highly regarded brands can be trusted to last up to at least 10 years. And since we’re talking about more permanent appliances in your kitchen, ovens from well-known brands can and should last even longer than that. If only because of this, we recommend going big on buying those big-ticket items to save you more money and hassle in the long run.

Problems with your kitchen appliances

If you experience a problem with your kitchen appliance, you can ask for help from either the retailer or the manufacturer. Both have an obligation to assist you with your problem.

Another key point to remember is, if your kitchen appliance stops doing its main job, like your fridge losing its ability to cool, you get your choice of remedy. In this case, we recommend you to take the full refund, rather than accepting the repair or replacement which is what will likely be offered to you.

Inversely, the manufacturer or retailer will select the remedy for ‘minor’ faults. A ‘minor’ fault means that the appliance still does what it absolutely has to do. In our example, it might be that the door handle has come loose. For cases like this, they will usually select the most inexpensive option, which is a repair or replacement.

Did your kitchen appliance not meet these standards? Let Handle My Complaint manage it for you. We might not be able to repair your item, but we can definitely help you follow the correct complaint process.

You can tell us what you’ve bought, what the problem is and what you’d like to tell the people who can help. Just say the magic words 'Help Me Handle It'.