Fascinating reading through this thread from the beginning!
Thanks to the OP for starting it - it's obviously saved a good number of people thousands of dollars.
Kind of hilarious seeing some people jump in half way through (and even as recently as a couple of months ago) accusing OP of being a shill for ECTV, etc.
Anyway, I haven't dealt with one of these "east coast" companies in many years, but I had similar experiences back in the 90's and 00's with the likes of Abe's of Maine, etc. The tactics are exactly the same from what I remember back then, and the results are similar. The call-backs, the upsells, and the never-before-heard-of shipping companies.
If you have the stomach for it, though, the savings can be significant. I'm looking at almost $1K cheaper for a PN60F8500 currently compared to Amazon or Best Buy (and that's before even considering taxes).
Honestly, I've never had a good experience at Best Buy despite dealing with them throughout the years they've been in business. I know there are exceptions, but I've personally never met a sales person there who knew what they were talking about, and never once felt like they added any value, outside of the convenience of being able to walk into the store and pick up what you wanted immediately, for their usually significant mark-ups. I can't tell you how many times I've walked out of one of my local BB's thinking "never again - never again!" Of course, the next time I happen to need something immediately...
I typically buy from Amazon these days because they're convenient, trustworthy, and make it as painless as possible to do business with them, but with a difference in price this significant, I'm willing to go through the extra hassle.
Thanks again to the OP for sticking through this despite the negativity from some people.
And now I'll sit back and wait til someone calls me a shill because I don't have over a thousand posts in the forum...