Consumer Alert: Appliances

NATIONAL - Last year, Americans spent nearly $20 billion on kitchen appliances. To help you find the best place to buy, Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed more than 17,000 people about 32,000 purchases.

Independent appliance stores got high ratings for service and selection. But the survey shows independent stores didn't get high ratings when it came to price. To save money, Consumer Reports says look online for special promotions and sales from manufacturers such as Frigidaire, GE, Maytag, and Whirlpool. Some retailers offer them, too.

Sears stores scored very high for appliance selection. And Costco got the highest marks for price, although the selection isn't extensive. Not all Costco stores stock large appliances, but they can be purchased online at

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