If you're not shipping your household items to Ecuador, then you'll eventually need to buy appliances in Cuenca (unless you're renting a completely furnished house or apartment long-term).
While buying appliances and other large items, such as flat screen TVs, computers, and other electronics isn't as demanding as buying furniture is, it still has its issues. We discuss them below.
Measuring is extremely important. You can buy refrigerators in Ecuador that come in about 10 different sizes, from very small, to medium, to giant North American-style side-by-sides with built-in water and ice dispensers.
If you don't know the length (face), width (side) and height of the space you have for a fridge, you could end up buying two.
The same holds for flat screen TVs. The built-in closets in most new apartments and houses/ townhouses have a space for a television, but it's not big enough for many of the bigger flat screens.
Measure the length and height of the space so you know the maximum size TV you can buy.
If you're moving into a condo, you'll probably find that there's no standalone range. There's a gas burner built into the countertop, and a space in the cabinetry for an oven. Measure that oven space. These are more standard, so it's not as critical to measure for this, but why take chances?
And remember to take your measurements (record metric numbers) and your tape measure with you when you go appliance shopping.
Unlike the furniture makers, who each make their own, the appliances in all the stores in Ecuador are from the same manufacturers. So it pays to comparison shop.
Five stores may not have exactly the fridge or washer that you want, but the sixth will. Or one may have it for $50 less than the others.
Be sure to ask if delivery is included in the price you pay. And ask what the cash discount is (see below for more information).
As you're comparing various models of an appliance, note if any have an extra thrown in. We've seen small appliances (a blender, for example) included in the price of a certain fridge or other large appliance. Or a DVD player might sweeten the deal on a large flat screen.
Ask for the price without the extra (especially if you don't want it) to see if that's a better deal.
Every appliance, TV, etc., will have a price tag on it. That invariably is the credit card price.
If you want to save some serious cash, pay with cash.
Depending on how much you're buying, you could save as much as 10% if you pay cash.
On $5,000 of appliances (and you could easily spend that much depending on whether you want North American-style appliances instead of Ecuadorian/South American appliances), saving $500 or so is nothing to look down at.
If they don't offer a cash discount, turn around and walk out of the store. Alternatively, ask they what they'll throw in in lieu of the discount. It would have to be pretty good, though, to make up for several hundred dollars in cash savings.
Buying appliances in Cuenca doesn't need to be a headache, and it doesn't need to drain your bank account (although it will put a fair dent in your balance). If you measure first, take your tape measure, comparison shop, ask about extras, and always pay with cash, you'll receive the best deals in Cuenca.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!