Community & Current Events

5 tips for buying technology

By: Marc Saltzman

Photography by Luis Alburquerque Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Luis Alburquerque

Community & Current Events

5 tips for buying technology

By: Marc Saltzman
1. Look for deals
Research prices on the web before you buy. Price comparison sites such as pricegrabber.ca and redflagdeals.ca can do the work for you. If you do shop online, always use a secure Internet connection. Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) that encrypt data during transmission. Look for a lock icon on your browser (and "https" before the address) to confirm a secure connection.

2. Price matching
When shopping at your favourite retailer, ask if they'll match or beat advertised prices from rival stores. For proof, bring the flyer or printed website special with you. Some will match or beat the other guy's price up front.

3. Warranty wisdom

Generally speaking, it doesn't pay to buy an extended warranty for consumer electronics, as they aren't likely to break during the extended service contract period. Consumer Reports also warns of extended warranties that have fine-print terms that limit or void your claims. That said, if the extended warranty is very affordable (compared to the overall cost) and extends the warranty period significantly, it might be worth it.

4. Use apps
Apps such as ShopSavvy, Red Laser and SnapTell analyze pictures of a product or its bar code to tell you who sells it for less. Flipp and RetailMeNot aggregate weekly flyers, while ShopWise, Push a Deal, and Shop to It tell you when you're near a retailer with good deals.

5. Dispose of old tech
There is a downside to our increased reliance on tech toys: electronic waste ("e-waste") that ends up as landfill. If you're unable to sell or donate your aged tech, many consumer electronics retailers, wireless stores and nonprofit groups host recycling events or trade-in programs. Before dropping items off, be sure to back up important information and properly format (wipe clean) the flash or hard drives.

For this year's hottest tech picks, check out our holiday gift guide.
                                               
This story was originally titled "Top Tech Buying Tips" in the Janaury 2014 issue.
           
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