CompUSA Liquidation Scam: Double The Price, Then Knock Off 15%

For giggles, I stopped into our local CompUSA (Mount Laurel, NJ) to see what amazing deals could be had.

Every 5-10 minutes, an announcement was made welcoming people to the liquidation event. Curiously enough, the guy making the announcements kept saying “fifty percent off”, when in reality the items in question were 15% off. I heard several of these announcements, and I wasn’t the only one that heard him say 50%. Clever use of near homophones..

Next bit of interest.. I saw a pack of DVD-R blanks with a couple of different price tags on it. There was one that said $4.99, and partially on top of that, one that said $9.99. The shelf signs offered another 15% off of that.

Upon taking it to the register, I was told that it was in fact $9.99. When I inquired, I was asked how they couldn’t tell if I’d applied the $4.99 sticker myself. I pointed out that it had the same item number, and was partially *underneath* the higher price tag.

“Oh yeah. I guess you couldn’t have done that then.” The girl informed me that she was unable to give me the lower, marked price.

I remarked how good a deal it was for them – do a 100% markup on the product, then offer a 15% discount. Nicely done guys. She told me that “would be impossible, since price fixing is illegal.” I explained to her that price fixing is when you collude with your competitors to charge the same price for an item, not artificially inflating the price of an item before discounting. When you own the merchandise, you’re free to sell it for whatever price you like, generally. If you convince some sucker to pay more than he should, good for you.

For those who still think it was a good deal – it was only a 10-pack of DVD-Rs. Lightscribe discs, but still, not a great deal (25 for $12.99 on Newegg).

Other “deals” included a Western Digital MyBook World Edition 1TB for $404 (including the 10% off, so marked $449). Same drive sells every day on Amazon for about $350.

So, inflate prices, take nominal discount, profit…

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this happening during the CompUSA’s so-called “liquidation” sale. The whole thing seems sketchy to us. Avoid.