How To Shop During The Great Computer Shortage Of 2020

August 25, 2020
OUT OF STOCK

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Finding out products are in short supply is really no surprise anymore. In a world before coronavirus, stores were packed with back to school deals on computers.  However with more workers staying at home to work remotely and students attending school virtually, those laptop computers are harder to find. But it's not just computers. Printers, routers, microphones, and webcams are in short supply, too. But you don't have to give up. You can still get a great deal on electronic technology but you will need to be informed and be ready to pounce on a deal. So do all you can to eliminate delays, including creating accounts on retailer websites in advance and making sure you have your log-ins and passwords handy. You should also consider signing up for in-stock alerts. When you do, retailers like Target and Walmart will notify you by email or push notification when an item you’ve been eyeballing is available for purchase. Services such as NowInStock and zooLert can help you track products at several outlets at once, including stores that don’t offer alerts on their own. Be flexible. While you might have your heart set on a specific laptop, try thinking instead about the features you want and the price you're willing to pay for one. In some cases, you might be able to find a model with slightly higher specs (say, an Intel Core i7 processor instead of an i5 or 512GB of storage instead of 256) without having to pay too much more. If you can’t find a new laptop that suits your needs, you may have more luck looking for a used model. Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and Microsoft sell refurbished laptops. Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart have similar programs, too. Look for products that are “certified pre-owned.” Make sure the refurbishment includes genuine parts from the manufacturer and all of the standard accessories. Insist on a warranty. Without one, you have no protection. Ask about the return policy. Some problems take time to surface, so it’s best to buy from a retailer that gives you at least a month to return the product.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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