Apple Store, Costco among highest rated cell phone retailers
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Apple Store, Costco among highest rated cell phone retailers

Whether shopping online or at walk-in stores, those who bought a cell phone at an Apple Store or at Apple.com had a better overall experience than shoppers at any other cell-phone store, according to a survey from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. When it came to ratings for checkout and service, only Apple’s walk-in and online stores received top scores for both attributes.

The full ratings, which are based on 9,774 responses from Consumer Reports subscribers surveyed in July 2012 who bought a new cell phone in the past two years, can be found online at ConsumerReports.org and in the January 2013 issue of Consumer Reports. In the same issue, Consumer Reports rated carriers in 23 metro areas based on a September 2012 survey of 63,253 subscribers.

Costco received high marks in the Consumer Reports survey for service and pricing on the cell phones it sells at special kiosks within its warehouse stores; Walmart matched Costco in offering pleasing prices. Best Buy received the highest score of any retailer for its selection of smart phones, which includes everything from high-profile smart phones to simple prepaid phones from a host of carriers.

The average American household spent more than US$1,500 on phones and phone services this year, up 7% from 2011. Part of that spending came as more basic cell-phone owners upgraded to more expensive smart phones: about 70% of the Consumer Reports readers surveyed now own a smart phone versus a basic cell phone, up from about 50 percent only two years ago.

 
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