Best Place to Buy a TV Online

When determining the best place to buy a TV, be it a 4k TV or not, online we considered a select number of factors that we feel are vital to this type of product. This includes shipping cost, delivery type (white glove vs drop off), selection, return policy, authorized sellers, customer service, ease of returns and its associated cost, and lastly price.

Now, you might be thinking “it doesn’t matter where I buy my HD or 4K television from” because you’ll be receiving the same product. Sure, that’s true. But as the saying goes, the “devil is in the details”.

Related: Read all of our TV Reviews here

The last thing you’ll want to end up with is the lowest price but from a retailer that isn’t authorized and thus the warranty isn’t covered. Or worse, their shipping costs are astronomical and thus making it impossible for you to return the product, even if it’s not your fault that the product is defective.

It’s very important that you consider all aspects of a retailer when buying a TV since they’re physically large items that are costly to deliver, return, and in some instance expensive to fix. So make sure you read our guide to the best place to buy a television online before you make your next purchase.

How We Picked the Best Stores for the Best Experience

Return Policy: Make sure to read the store’s return policy. We did. TVs are large and expensive to ship. Ideally, you don’t pay for shipping in either direction. Alternatively, look for stores that have physical locations which means you can drop the product off if you think there is a chance you won’t want it. All of our top 5 picks include the best return policies, allowing at least 30 days (except one) for the product to be returned with no restocking fee.

Authorized Seller: Ideally purchase your TV from an authorized seller. Why? Those that aren’t authorized might be selling you “gray market“, refurbished or worse: counterfeit products. Sony, for instance, lists their authorized sellers and might not cover the TV’s warranty if it isn’t bought from an authorized seller. All of our top picks are authorized sellers.

Price: Price is important and we always want to pay bottom dollar. But not at the expense of a warranty or site that doesn’t offer top tier customer support. So make sure you evaluate “the cost” of the price and make sure you aren’t compromising a trustworthy experience in favor of saving a few bucks. In the end, it might cost you more money than it was worth, especially if you end up with a defective product you can’t return. As a result, we’ve evaluated all aspects of a TV purchase and all but ensure that you won’t be sacrificing anything in favor of price. That being said, none of the aforementioned are mutually exclusive. Which is to say you could end up with the lowest price with the best customer service.

Customer Service: This one is a big one, especially if you have a dilemma or problem with the actual product. You’ll want a customer service team that provides a timely response to your inquiry (max 24-48 hours). Moreover, they should be concerned about your issue and not blow you off as another irate customer, no matter how displeased you are. We’ve spent time on the phone, chat and/or by email with each of our top picks, which has allowed us to vet, in a real world fashion, just how good their customer service is.

Delivery Type: There are two types of TV delivery. There is the general UPS/FedEx/Freight like delivery. Which if you’re like us, then you expect the package to be delivered to your door. The other is White Glove delivery. White Glove is great, because they’ll actually bring the TV into your home and might even help you set it up. Moreover, it’s great if you live upstairs. However, the caveat to this can be an added cost. So by no means is it mandatory, but if you’re someone that does live in a “walk up” or isn’t tech savvy in the slightest, you might want to consider purchasing from a store that offers this, such as Amazon, which generally delivers into your home with no added cost.

Selection: For instance, Vizio doesn’t stock all sell their TVs on Amazon, though you’ll find a sparse selection of outdated models from a few different vendors there. This partially dovetails into our note about Authorized Sellers. So make sure you take into account the brand of TV you want and the retailer. That said, Amazon carries the bulk of brands, which includes LG, Sony, TCL, some Sceptre, Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba. Just not much in the ways of Vizio and HiSense.

Our #1 Pick: Amazon – Best Selection and Shipping Policy

Bottom Line: Amazon offers exceptional customer service – including pre-sale live phone support – and a great 30 day return policy. Moreover, all televisions sold by Amazon ship for FREE, and some of their TVs are sold with “enhanced delivery” (effectively white glove delivery) – just look for the scheduling tool upon checkout. Enhanced Delivery means you can not only schedule your delivery time, but two representatives will arrive with your TV, unpack it, attach it to a stand and even plug it in to make sure everything is in working order. Pro Tip: If you do decide to return the television, be it a 4k or 1080 full HD model,  make sure that you note it was defective or that something was wrong with it so you don’t have to cover the return shipping cost.

Return Policy: 30 days and variable cost unless it’s Amazon’s error (hint, hint).

Pros

  • Free Shipping
  • Accurate shipping time with scheduled delivery
  • 30 day return policy (see below)
  • Massive selection

Cons:

  • No price matching (or low price guarantee as of 2/7/2017)
  • They don’t carry much in the way of Vizio or HiSense products
  • You must pay for return shipping unless the product is defective or Amazon is at fault.

#2 Pick: Walmart – Best Return Policy

Bottom Line: Walmart is an excellent place to buy a TV thanks to their generous return and price matching policy. That said, make sure you’re buying from Walmart if you want their return policy, as they offer marketplace items much like Amazon, which means you could end up buying from Beach Camera or those alike if you’re not careful. The majority of their TVs ship for free, though larger sets, such as a 75-inch, include a freight charge, though it’s not much compared to other sites, such as Newegg or Crutchfield. The only things Walmart is lacking is a White Glove delivery service.

Return Policy: 90 days (make sure you’re buying from Walmart and not the marketplace) even if package is open & NO restocking fee

Pros:

  • Industry best return policy of 90 days even if package is open
  • Free Shipping
  • A great selection of brands including RCA, Sceptre and the big three
  • 2-day shipping on select TVs

Cons:

  • No white glove delivery
  • Some TVs (e.g. 75-inch) have an additional S&H fee of about ~$40

#3 Pick: Best Buy – Best Price Match (plus in store pick up)

Bottom Line: Much like Amazon, with Best Buy if you plan to return your TV you’ll have to eat the cost of the return shipping, unless there is something wrong with the product or Best Buy made an error (hint, hint). However, if you live within a reasonable proximity to store, you can return it there with no shipping cost. The Price Match is a nice perk as is the ability to return the product in store, but keep in mind that 15 days is about the shortest of return policies that we’ve experienced. That all being said, if you want “white glove delivery”, it’ll cost you to to the tune of $150. Add another $50 for mounting. Ouch.

Return Policy: 15 days unless an Elite Member

Pros:

  • Price match
  • Free Shipping and Delivery
  • Can return in store thus negating return shipping fees
  • Offer their own, in-house discount brand, Insignia.

Cons:

  • 15 day return policy (unless you’re an Elite Member – then 30 days)
  • Expensive white glove delivery; $150+
  • Don’t carry Sceptre

#4 Pick Crutchfield

Bottom Line: Hands down Crutchfield offers some of the best custom service, which is in part thanks to their lifetime tech support, a Godsend for those who are tech averse.  Their limited brand selection might be a deterrent for those looking for the budget brands (HiSense, Vizio), but they do carry the big three. Free shipping is available, though if you’re looking for white glove delivery you won’t find it with Crutchfield. That all being said, they do provide an industry 2nd best return policy of 60 days (Walmart offers 90 days as does Costco). Price Match: Yes, but you must contact them by phone or chat.

Return Policy: 60 day return policy. Return fee waived if the product is damaged/defective.

Pros:

  • Free Shipping within 2-5 days
  • Exceptional FREE lifetime tech support and knowledge 7-days a week by phone

Cons:

  • Limited brand selection (LG, Samsung, Sony, and SunbriteTV)
  • No white glove delivery (freight only)
  • $125-175 return shipping cost

#5 Abt Electronics

Botton Line: Abt Electronics has been in the game for much longer than any of the aforementioned brands. So they’re trusted and with that they only sell the products they’re authorized to. Which only lends more trust. Perhaps the biggest value drivers of this store, beyond its time tested trust, is that they don’t charge tax outside of Illinois. On a big screen TV this can amount to savings of well over $100 and a deciding factor on where to shop. Just keep in mind that their White Glove service doesn’t compare to that of Amazon’s, as they won’t carry it up a flight of stairs, plus it’s a extra $100 fee.

Return Policy: 30 days, Return fee waived if damaged/defective. Alternatively you can return in store if you live in Chicago.

Pros:

  • All brands are “authorized”.
  • White Glove shipping available
  • Scheduled delivery free
  • No tax charged outside of Illinois.

Cons:

  • White Glove shipping doesn’t include deliver up stairs + $100 extra
  • They don’t carry Vizio, HiSense, TCL or Sceptre.

#6 Costco

Bottom Line: Until Costco changed their return policy from lifetime to 90 days, they were hands down one of the best places to shop for a 4k or 1080 TV. That said, they still offer very competitive pricing and a generous return policy that is only matched by Walmart. That all being said, they’re the only Internet retailer on our list to include free delivery that includes up to two flights of stairs. And for those that want to afford the Executive Membership, you can earn an extra 2% back on your purchases. However, their biggest short coming is their lack of brand selection, which doesn’t include Sony, one of the big three.

Return Policy: 90 days

Pros:

  • 90 day (almost no questions asked) return policy
  • 30 day price match
  • Can return in store for an immediate refund
  • Standard Delivery (aka Threshold Delivery) will deliver up two flights of stairs
  • White Glove delivery available (at a cost)

Cons:

  • Must be a member for select TV discounts
  • Very limited brand section (no Sony, Sharp, HiSense)
  • Price may be lower in store as a result of membership requirements

#7 Fry’s

Bottom Line: Fry’s has long been a trusted name in computers and electronics. And that same ethos continues with their TV offering, by providing a 30-day satisfaction guarantee with the ability to return the television opened with no restocking fee, provided you’ve still got the packaging. The only thing they same to be lacking – aside from the cheap brands – is a scheduled delivery service. However, you can pick up in store (provided you live in SoCal, Houston or two areas in Oregon), but otherwise you might face a 2-3 week shipping time, especially if you live on the East Coast. Because of this we suggest shopping here if you live on the West Coast.

Return Policy: 30 days with original packaging

Pros:

  • Free shipping even on large (75″) televisions with same business day delivery (depending on area)
  • In store pickup (when available)
  • White glove delivery available for an added cost
  • Will match price within 30 days of purchase
  • No restocking fee

Cons:

  • No scheduled delivery even with White glove delivery which costs $90
  • Will only price match from select online stores (Amazon.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Dell.com, HP.com, and Newegg.com)
  • Don’t carry much in the ways of the “cheaper” brands (Vizio, Sceptre, HiSense).

Everyone Else: Trusted But Not Ideal for Buying a TV

The below retailers, while reputable and trusted, didn’t achieve the same, high marks as the above stores. Either their return policy wasn’t favorable or unclear, their selection limited, and/or they charged a restocking fee. That said, make sure you weigh things out. If the TV is being sold at a screaming deal, you might want to overlook their short comings, which we’ve noted in relative detail below.

Lastly, make sure you read all the way down the page, as there a handful of retailers that we suggest steering completely clear of.

Dell

Bottom Line: While Dell is a trusted name in the computer industry, they’ve also done well to offer a wide selection of consumer electronics, which in this case includes TVs. However, the largest driver to shop at Dell is when there is a deal to be had, which usually comes in the form of a gift card included in the purchase, which in effect lowers the purchase price, provided you plan to shop there in the future. That all said, the 15% restocking fee is a non-starter for us, so we stress that you only shop here if there is a great deal to be had. Price Match: Yes, but some restrictions.

Return Policy: 30 days + 15% restocking fee + associated sales tax unless deemed defective or damaged upon shipping.

Pros:

  • Free shipping
  • Occasionally offers gift cards with purchases

Cons:

  • Limited brand selection (Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sharp, TCL)
  • 5-7 days shipping time on TVs over 46″
  • No white glove delivery

Newegg

Bottom Line: Newegg has grown to one of the most trusted names in both consumer electronics and computer gear. They offer a massive selection that also includes other retailers, allowing you to price shop. Their return policy, which includes a 15% restocking fee leaves something to be desired, as does the lack of white glove delivery, unless of course you’re willing to pay the extra fee which can be as much as $169. Ultimately, Newegg is a great place to buy computers and their associated part, but the experience lacks in the TV department when compared to that of Amazon or Best Buy.

Return Policy: 30 days + 15% Restocking fee unless damaged/defective

Pros:

  • You can return items beyond the return period but must be unopened and you’ll only receive 85% of purchase price
  • Good selection and include Sharp, HiSense and Vizio (no Sceptre)
  • Optional white glove delivery

Cons:

  • Full refund only if unopened (unless damaged/defective)
  • White glove delivery pricey ($169)

Target

Bottom Line: Given that Target requires the product to be unopened, we can’t recommend shopping here for a TV. That said, their site’s return policy states 90 days, but upon speaking with a Customer Service rep we were told 30 days for “electronics”. In light of the inflexible return policy and lack of clear return policy rules, we’d suggest that you don’t purchase a television from Target.com or Target stores.

Return Policy: 30 days

Pros:

  • 30 day return policy (see below for more info)
  • White glove delivery available
  • Target.com TV purchases can be returned in store.

Cons:

  • They don’t sell Sony, HiSense or Sceptre
  • Returns must be unopened
  • Price match only applicable at time of purchase or within 14-days.

Who We Can’t Recommend and Why

Abes of Maine: Not an authorized dealer of Samsung or Sony products.

6ave: Horrible ratings on Resellerratings.com and not an authorized dealer of many top brands.

Sears: Why we didn’t rate them: They’re likely heading towards bankruptcy.

The following blog post Best Place to Buy a TV Online is courtesy of Gadget Reviews(GR)

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