Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beware When Shopping Going-Out-Of-Business Sales

(SPM Wire) Going-out-of-business sales can mean huge discounts, but Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers to beware of false deals.

"The bargains are not always as advertised at going-out-of business sales and some consumers don't realize they're getting ripped off when they're supposed to be getting a deal," said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson.

When a large retailer liquidates assets, the sale is undertaken by a liquidator who sets prices and attempts to sell items quickly and at the highest profit. So, some items actually will be marked up.

In 2008, an ABC News report revealed that many items sold during one liquidation sale were marked up as much as 14 percent.

The BBB offers this advice:

Confirm that a deal IS a deal. Some liquidators mark up prices, while a store's competitors sometimes drop prices to compete with liquidation sales.

Use credit cards. Credit cards include consumer protections if the company doesn't deliver on promised goods.

Don't count on customer service. Consumers might be responsible for delivery of large items. Understand all sales are final and you don't have many options if dissatisfied.

Know the warranty status before buying. Warranties are often maintained by manufacturers or third-parties, meaning they still apply if the retailer goes out of business.

Use gift cards ASAP. Businesses in liquidation won't survive long, so don't get stuck with worthless plastic.

For more consumer advice visit www.bbb.org.

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