With the news that the Ultimate Electronics chain is to be liquidated, we were reminded of the Circuit City liquidation and the lessons consumers (hopefully) learned from that debacle.
“Consumers think this is the time for bargains. That’s not true,” one liquidation expert explained at the time of the Circuit City shutdown. He also said that many liquidators will do everything they can to hide the fact that an item is refurbished, returned, or a floor model. Some will even fold other merchandise into the store’s inventory to try to sell.
Some examples of not-so-deep discounts shoppers found at those liquidation sales:
*$30 USB cables
*A first-generation satellite radio player that was being sold as second-gen
*An ancient, open-box laptop being sold for over $700
*A new laptop being sold for $37 more than it had been listed at before the liquidation
And a whole mess of other stuff that could easily be bought online for less and from companies that weren’t going out of business.
Some other things to keep in mind:
You could be stuck with defective goods
Liquidators don’t care about customer loyalty, so they really don’t care if you buy broken crap. Just heed the cautionary tale of the family who spent $1,500 on a damaged TV at Circuit City.
Don’t expect any sort of customer service whatsoever from the staff
“We really don’t care about you,” wrote one soon-to-be-former Circuit City staffer. “I and anybody else will answer any questions about the product or return policy, or show you where something is. But that is it. I really can’t do anything else for you under our new policies, and that is honestly fine with me. It is hard to care when you know the job is gone in 2 months anyway.”
Use your gift card right away
If you happen to have a gift card for a store that’s being liquidated, you need to use it ASAP. You can’t use it anywhere else and it will be completely useless once the store actually shuts down for good.