Emergency Liquidation Center Advertisements Claim $5 Merchandise but doesn’t Deliver, Consumers Say

August 10, 2011
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona is alerting consumers to the “Emergency Liquidation Center,” which is holding a self-described “bankruptcy liquidation” in Tucson at 4380 Oracle Rd. in the former Ultimate Electronics retail space.

In its commercials, Emergency Liquidation Center claims to sell a host of items for $5, including electronics, clothing, and accessories. However, consumers tell BBB that after paying a $5 admission fee to enter the store, they found very few products for $5.

“The commercial said that everything was $5,” said Liz Encinas, who showed up at the Oracle location after hearing Emergency Liquidation Center’s commercial on the radio.

“None of it was cheap,” she said. “The only thing we saw that was $5 was a table of shirts.”

Emergency Liquidation Center- which has an ‘F’ rating with BBB- is owned by Aroma Senses, LLC, based in Columbus, Ohio. The company told BBB that they buy merchandise from various retailers who have gone out of business, or from companies like Target or Kmart who have stores with excess inventory.

When BBB asked Aroma Senses owner, Sunil Pehouja, which bankrupt retailer the company’s Tucson merchandise came from he said: “it’s very hard for us to say this product is from so and so company;” claiming the company wasn’t able to accurately  keep track of where all their merchandise came from.  

In response to consumer allegations that the store didn’t sell the $5 merchandise, Sunil said that the store has a very limited supply of $5 items they sell each day, and that they typically sell out very early in the day.

At BBB’s request Sunil said he would have his radio advertisements amended to reflect that $5 merchandise is in limited supply, but that it was too late to change his TV commercials since August 5, 6, and 7 is Emergency Liquidation Center’s last weekend in Tucson.  

BBB tips for consumers thinking of attending a liquidation sale, or purchasing items from a liquidation reseller are as follows:

  • Shop around - Liquidators attempt to sell assets as quickly as possible and at the highest profit so some items will actually be priced higher. Moreover, competitors may sometimes drop their prices to compete with a liquidation sale. So check retail prices on goods before buying them at liquidation sales.
  • Use a credit card - Unlike personal checks or cash, credit cards include built-in protection if the liquidator does not deliver on promised goods.
  • Know the status on warranties - Warranties are often serviced by a manufacturer or third party. This means the warranty will still apply, even if the retailer goes out of business. Nonetheless, consumers should always confirm the status of a warranty before buying.

If consumers have questions or concerns about Emergency Liquidation Center, or about another liquidation reseller, they can contact BBB by calling (520)888-5353, or visiting www.tucson.bbb.org.