It’s Buyer Beware When Shopping Going-Out-Of-Business Sales

February 22, 2009
Retailers across the country are being hit by the declining economy and some big names such as Circuit City are closing doors and liquidating assets in order to pay debtors. To customers’ ears, a going-out-of-business sale means huge discounts, but your Better Business Bureau warns bargain-hunters to be alert for false deals when shopping liquidation sales.

When a large retailer such as Circuit City, for example, decides to liquidate assets, the actual sale will be undertaken by a liquidator. The liquidator will set the prices and attempt to sell the items quickly and at the highest profit. As a result, some items will actually be marked up for the sale.

Before being sucked into some not-so-good deals at a liquidation sale, your BBB offers the following advice:

Confirm that a deal IS a deal. Not only will some liquidators actually mark up prices for going-out-of-business sales, a business’s competitors will sometimes drop their prices in order to compete with a liquidation sale.

Use a credit card. Credit cards include built-in consumer protections if the company does not deliver on promised goods.

Don’t count on customer service. Customer service is not a liquidator’s priority and consumers expecting the same level of customer service might be disappointed. Staff will be limited and consumers might be on the hook for delivery of large items. Also, all sales are final and consumers don’t have many options if unsatisfied with the purchase.

Know the status on warranties. Warranties are often maintained by a manufacturer or a third-party, which means that the warranty will still apply if the retailer goes out of business.

Use those gift cards ASAP.  Businesses that have entered into the liquidation process will not be around for long. The BBB advises consumers spend gift cards as soon as possible or risk getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.