Are you paying the lazy tax for technology?

Astute consumers would already know of the lazy tax for insurance. That’s where failing to shop around and instead just renewing your annual policies can cost hundreds extra. Price Matched Smart WatchInsurance companies are aware that policy holders are reluctant to switch insurers and are therefore keen to provide incentives, in the form of cheaper prices,to attract new customers, who will stay and then pay the full premium in future years.

It’s a similarly story when it comes to buying the latest phones, tablets, computers, routers and other tech gear. Many stores provide price matching, or even lowest price guarantees, of which some are better than others.

Shopping around is only half the process. Even more important than getting the best price is getting the best warranty. After all there is not much point in getting a red hot bargain on a whiz bang gadget if it breaks inside a couple of months, and you have to package it up and mail it back, at your cost, to the on-line store, in the hope that it will be repaired or replaced, and then mailed back to you, all the time being without your indispensable device.

What if I were to tell you that it is possible to get both a great warranty and a great price?

This tip will not work on every piece of tech available as some gadgets are only available at certain stores. For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro, something I have had my eye on for some time, is only available at Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi. Limited distribution arrangements with a small number of stores allows manufactures to keep their prices higher. You cannot do this trick with Apple products either due to Apples restrictive retailing policy.

There are two steps to the process, but they are not laborious. Here is how it’s done. There are a number of price comparison websites. For tech products my go to is www.staticice.com.au. Once at the site enter the item you are after, a Model number helps particularly when there are several variants or differences in RAM size or other features. Now when the search comes back it will list some extremely cheap prices. Don’t get excited yet. Most of these very cheap prices are for products which are called gray imports. They might not have a full Australian warranty, and will not be matched at a store due to not being the exact same product. So look at the next best price, preferably from a local Australian brick and mortar store with a shop front typically in Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane. Follow the link to the web site and confirm the price, features and Australian warranty. Next print out the web page, because we are not buying it here. We can get it cheaper still.

Now go to the www.officeworks.com.au website and confirm that the product is available from Officeworks, mail order, or in store is fine. If it is then bingo you’re in luck. Jump in the car go to the nearest Officeworks store pick out your product, go to the counter and ask for a price match based on your printout. There is no need to be demanding, just polite. Not only will they match it but they also will beat it by 5%. One thing to remember is that they will add the cost of freight, from the store to be price matched to your door, to the price to be matched. That may equal the 5% that you just saved, but heck, you are still getting a great price.

I find this process is way easier 10 minutes prior to closing on a Saturday, but I have never had a problem at any time. In fact, once the staff said they couldn’t match one store as it was a gray import, but they looked up the next best price and did that one, which was fine with me.

What have your experiences at price matching been like?

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