Before you buy, do some research
Research the kind of item you want to buy. Make a checklist of what you want and what you're willing to pay. This way, you can ensure you're getting the features you want and things like a warranty, for the best possible price.
Compare different brands and models and the features they offer. Shop around and compare prices, so you know what's a good deal. Use the internet, newspapers and magazines and look at store catalogues to get an idea of prices.
Tips for getting a good deal
Here are some tips that can help you save:
- Advertised items are not necessarily the cheapest - just because something's 'on sale', it doesn't mean it's the best price
- Know when stores have their scheduled sales - it might pay to wait a few weeks to wait for a sale
- Because they get discounts from manufacturers for ordering in bulk, larger stores are generally cheaper than smaller ones. If you do get a quote that's cheaper than what a large store offers, ask them to match or even better it
- Ask for a discount if you pay with cash
- Shop at markets, second-hand stores, garage sales and warehouses
- See if there's a warranty and how long it is for
- Ask if any student or other concessions are relevant. Some computer stores, for example, offer generous discounts to full-time students or unemployed people. Ask!
If you don't feel comfortable negotiating the price of the product with the salesperson, take an assertive friend or family member with you who has your best interests at heart and can do all the talking for you.
Your buying options
There are ways to buy things without cash:
- Borrow money - take out a loan, but make sure that you can make the repayments on time and for the entire loan period
- Lay-by - avoid accumulating debt on credit cards and pay off the product over a number of weeks and collect it once you've paid for it in full
- Hire-purchase - this is kind of like renting, though at the end of your hire contract, you'll either own the product outright, or have the option to purchase it at a set price
- Rent - you can rent a product, like a new stereo or TV, for a set period of time. You'll pay more over time than if you bought the product outright, but if you don't have the money upfront and are comfortable with the monthly payments, then this is an option to consider.
What rights do I have as a shopper?
Knowing your rights when you're buying and how to exercise them can help you avoid mistakes, and save you time and money.
Informed consumers know how to shop around, how to compare prices and quality, what after-sales service to expect and how to complain if things go wrong.
You have the right to expect:
- Certain quality, performance and safety standards from goods and services purchased
- Protection from misleading and deceiving practices such as false advertising claims and high pressure selling tactics
- Information provided with goods and services is accurate and includes information required by law such as price, content and weight of package, care labels on garments and textiles safety instructions on dangerous products
Our Consumer rights page provides further information and advice about buying stuff.
MoneyHelp (new window) has a comprehensive credit and debt telephone enquiry service. The service helps with all issues relating to regulatory requirements, consumer rights, credit reporting and debt collection. Call 1800 149 689.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
Know your rights as a consumer and what kind of protection you have against scams and other dodgy retail practices.
Provides information on buying a car, mobile phone etc.
Dollars & Sense - Getting a Good Deal
Information about geting a good deal.