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It’s difficult enough to make a decision when purchasing big ticket items. We’re talking about items that we use on a regular day-to-day basis. For example, home appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave), computers, television, and the like. There are dozens to hundreds of selections to choose from. That task in itself could be very daunting. You need to factor in the product reliability, read up on consumer reviews, and perform your own side by side comparison as well. So I thought it’d be a great idea to put a checklist of things to look out for before taking a leap in making that huge purchase. I will use my recent purchase experience with a refrigerator.
The Price Is Right
This was a huge factor. It’s not the only factor, but it played a huge role in the decision making process. It’s always good to have a budgeted amount, a threshold that will guide you when it comes to making your purchase. The last time we purchased a fridge was over 12 years ago, and I remember it being $1,200 + tax. I didn’t want to spend so much, so it’s best to set a budget.
Take advantage of available discounts
During my most recent purchase, there were many discounts available. Some of the fridge were on clearance or markdowns. Other stores had Open Box items where you buy the fridge as-is. There are also Price Match guarantees as long as you provide a copy of the ad or the link to the website that shows the lower price. If you have access to military discounts, there are stores that offer additional 10% discounts. Lowe’s and Best Buy are two examples that offer such discounts in my area.
Use the right credit card
If you’re in the points-earning hobby game, you should know about the minimum spend requirements when opening a new credit card. I opened up a new American Express Business Platinum Card a month ago. It had a pretty steep minimum spend requirement of $10,000 within 3 months. We had flooring projects at home, including the purchase of a new fridge. My wife was so confident we’d meet the spend, and she was right. That’s my next tip. If you can, you might as well consider opening up a new credit card that will garner you additional rewards before you make your next big purchase.
Mind your warranty and protection
No matter how great of a product it is, or no matter the reputation, things will break. It’s good to know that these appliances typically come with a one to two year standard manufacturer warranty. This warranty usually covers manufacturer defects. So the question is why is it important to use the right credit card? As you may already know, not all credit cards are created equal. Some cards offer more protection than others.
Knowing that I planned on using my new American Express Business Platinum card, I learned the following warranty and protection directly from American Express:
- Extended Warranty♦︎When an American Express® Card Member charges an eligible product with his or her Card account, Extended Warranty♦︎ can provide up to one extra year added to the original U.S. manufacturer’s warranty. Applies to warranties of 5 years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.
- Purchase Protection♦︎When an American Express® Card Member charges a covered purchase with their Business Platinum Card®account, Purchase Protection♦︎ can help protect them for up to 90 days from the date of purchase if the item is stolen, accidentally damaged or lost. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Please read important exclusions and restrictions.
Delivery and Installation
There are big ticket items that you can bring home yourself. But there are many appliances that will require delivery and installation. Not many of us have access to a huge delivery truck or are experienced movers. it was a good thing that when I narrowed my selection between Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy, all three of them offered free delivery. If I wanted for my old fridge to be hauled away, they were going to charge an additional $15. That was not bad at all.
Always know the store’s return policy. This could very well vary and could be part of your deciding factor. Be watchful of stores that also charge restocking fees. This is usually from special ordered items, built-in items. Best Buy, for example, charges the following fees:
15% of item purchase price – Built-In Cooktops, Built-In Refrigerators, Built-In Wall Ovens, Drones, DSLR Cameras and Lenses, Mirrorless Cameras and Lenses, Projectors, Rideables and Special Order Products
$35 – Cell Phones and Devices that Can Be Activated, and Unlocked Phones
What’s the point?
Before I decided to use my American Express Business Platinum Card, I considered using two other options.
- Amex Blue Business Plus – this would’ve given me 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar. My $1,500 purchase would mean 3,000 Membership Rewards; or
- Use United MileagePlusX App (aka MPX) – this would’ve been a double dip opportunity. I could’ve purchased a Best Buy gift card from the MPX app (giving me roughly1,500 Membership Rewards), plus earn an additional 1,500 United Miles + 25% bonus = 1,875 United Miles.
If I used United MPX, my purchase will appear as a gift card purchase in Amex’s eyes. There have been many reports of clawbacks where Amex frowns on purchasing gift cards when meeting the minimum spend. Also, from Best Buy’s eyes, I would end up using a Best Buy gift card (purchased with my Amex). If a Best Buy gift card was used, the refrigerator purchase will not be given the same extra warranty and protection had I purchased the fridge directly with my Amex Business Platinum Card. I also decided to forego using the Amex Blue Business Plus since I had a minimum spend I needed to meet with my Amex Business Platinum card.
How about you? What’s your next major purchase? What credit card do you use when making a major purchase? Have you reviewed the warranty and protection benefits? I highly recommend going in prepared when making a purchase. After all, these big ticket items are supposed to help you and not leave you worried.
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