Wallingford, CT (PressExposure) February 24, 2009 -- Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to check retail prices on goods before buying them at liquidation sales.
Retailers across the country are being hit by the declining economy. Due to sluggish sales in 2008, some big names, including Linens-N-Things and Circuit City were forced into bankruptcy and are liquidating stock to pay creditors.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, warns bargain-hunters to be on the alert for âfalse deals.â
âWe are all looking for good deals and a liquidation sale sounds like the consumer will be paying rock-bottom prices. These liquidation sales however, are handled by third parties and consumers donât realize they may be paying too much for an item when they should instead be getting a discounted price. Unfortunately, the real bargains are not always advertised at going-out-of-business sales.â
A 2008 ABC news report revealed that many items sold during Linens-n-Thingsâ liquidation sale were marked up as much as 14 percent. More recently, a mystery shopper investigation by Consumer Reports revealed Circuit Cityâs liquidation sale included âdealsâ such as a big screen TV that had been marked up by more than $400 and computer printers with prices boosted by as much as 100 percent.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to protect consumers from getting bad deals at liquidation sales:
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.
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.
Use gift cards ASAP Businesses undergoing liquidation wonât be around very long so BBB recommends that consumers holding gift cards use them as soon as possible to avoid getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.
Donât expect extreme customer service. Floor staff may be limited. Finally, consumers should keep in mind that all liquidation sales are final and that they donât have many options if they are not satisfied with a purchase.
For more information on being a savvy consumer, visit http://www.bbb.org.