Are Liquidation Sales Really Good Deals?

January 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Everything must go! You'll hear a lot of that this year. But buyer beware, going out of business is a big business in itself. If you're not careful, you may be paying more at a liquidation sale than you would've at the same store before!Circuit City's recent announcement that it would close all of its U.S. stores upset employees and long-time customers but left some shoppers excited about good deals. But with liquidation sales now under way, customers are now complaining that prices are sky-high.

Generally you're not getting as good a deal as you might think. First of all, you may find better prices online or at other retailers. Keep in mind that liquidators can raise prices that the original retailer already set. They can also get rid of any previously scheduled sales.

Going out of business ads attract consumers who assume they're getting a good deal, so experts claim there is little incentive to actually give those big discounts.

At first a liquidation sale may only give you 10 percent off. But the longer you wait, the more attractive prices get. Plus, when you buy an item from a liquidation sale, there's typically a "no refund" policy, and that can be a big minus if you're buying electronics or a big ticket item.

If you're tempted to buy something at liquidation, check with another merchant and ask how close they can come to price-matching the liquidation price. Before you purchase anything, check that you have all the accessories, the instruction booklet and that the item's in good condition. And finally, always buy your stuff with a credit card. That way you have more consumer protections.

Liquidators for Circuit City have until March 31 to sell their entire inventory, so prices should start to drop significantly in coming days.



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