CompUSA Sells "Defective" DVD Player That "Does Not Work" "As Is" For $179.98

CompUSA is selling a broken Sony DVD player for $179.98—that’s 40% off the sticker price! The Wife over at Bastion of Mediocrity noticed that the sticker also reads: “Defective,” “Does Not Work,” “As Is.”

She writes:

In any case, after wandering through two of the four remaining aisles, we came across a Sony DVD player that looked pretty solid and was discounted at 40% off. That’s when I read the hand-printed words on the sales tag.




There was also an ‘As Is’ tag on the item, just in case you didn’t read the hand writing on the big yellow sales tag and decided to try and return it later.

Wow, $179.98 for a brick sounds like a deal to me! Thanks CompUSA! This is why you’re in liquidation now!

They also had a heavily-used tape dispenser for $2.00 and used, broken bar stool for $10. WOW! WHAT A GREAT DEAL!

The thing is, The Husband worked for Circuit City, so we price checked some of the other items in the store to see how good the discounts were. Many of them were selling at 40% off some inflated price so that the final discounted price was only $20 or so below the price of Circuit City or Best Buy right next door. I looked at a .Mac subscription pack, and it was selling for $10 below the price at the Apple store, though this was 40% off the highly inflated price. The pack was for a basic membership ($99.99 at and was originally $179.99 (price of a family membership) and reduced to $89.99.

The Wife concludes: “Even in liquidation, CompUSA is still full of fail.” This is wrong. CompUSA is an innovation leader. In fact, we’ve been inspired to hold our own liquidation/garage sale. We have a rusty rake missing three tines. $80, no returns. Form an orderly line in the comments.

CompUSA: 40% off a defective DVD player that DOES NOT WORK [Bastion of Mediocrity]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bay State Darren says:

    For parts, duhhhhh!

  2. thedanza says:

    Why does this matter? It’s not like they’re mislabeling it as working. The Consumerist has begun to get a little more bitchy lately.

  3. but it’s 40% off!

  4. rolla says:

    why the hell would you sell a non-working player for the price of a new one?? This type of management is why this chain failed.

  5. Islandkiwi says: does a similar thing by posting a “list price” that is extremely high, folowed by “our price” which is the price you find the item selling for almost everywhere else.

    Makes it appear to be a far better deal than it is. I’m assuming CompUsa is also using the “list price” technique.

    Would have been good if you had shown the broken dvd player though…would have been interesting to see what it was really selling for new.

  6. darkclawsofchaos says:

    hmmm… for that price, you could had bought an HD-DVD player which upscales regular dvds and still have enough left for a few hd-dvds or regular dvds on the side. Or if you just wanted a dvd player, $49.99 could get you a decent player at best buy

  7. SomeoneGNU says:

    Soon any attempt to make a profit will be a complaint story here. Just to save some people the time…

    It costs Starbucks well under $4.00 for a cafe mocha. Dominoes still makes a good profit on their 555 deal, and even though Geico might save you on your car insurance they still do it to make money.

  8. Natheo says:

    Wow. That’s horrible. They could get it out the door if they wanted, but 180 isn’t nearly low enough.

  9. evslin says:

    “As is” is code for “doesn’t frickin work”.

  10. ghnvt says:

    Lol, why the hell did they go out of business, they have INSANE good deals.

  11. amoeba says:

    It sounds pretty much like the Macy’s in Riverdale, UT liquidation for closing. I went on a sneak-peak and they had 40-60% off. Most of items that were on clearance before up to 80% off, they were 40% off and you could see that most of the clothes were customer returns. It was the weekend before Pres. Day sale on Macy’s from 50-70% off. Comp-USA is just a crappy almost gone store.

  12. DeltaPurser says:

    That’s a hell of a deal! Where do I sign?!?!?!?!

  13. Hawk07 says:

    I have yet to read of any one getting a solid deal from this liquidation.

    Every single price is maybe slightly better than B&M, but on average or above average from all the sellers on the internet.

  14. B says:

    Don’t DVD players cost like 80-100 dollars? Who would pay that much for a working DVD player, nevermind a broken one.

  15. eskimo81 says:

    Well… least your warranty will start at the date of purchase, so you can get it fixed and not have a brick…..

    ….but unless its heavily discounted, it’s probably not worth the hassle.

  16. eskimo81 says:

    @Islandkiwi: I work for a company that sells office supplies and technology. The list price is the same as an MSRP. On office supplies the MSRP is significantly higher than selling prices, but on technology the MSRP is what everyone’s not-on-sale price is because margins are usually very tight.

  17. smallestmills says:

    When stock is liquidated, that means a liquidator has purchased the stock. The employees are now working for the liquidator. You mark anything at over 50% off and some asshole will buy it, no matter what condition it’s in. Just give it a couple weeks to go down and that busted DVD player will be a great deal.

  18. RvLeshrac says:


    Wrong. Warranty starts at the *original* date of purchase. This is why most clearance tags will state such.

  19. bohemian says:

    We were in a Wilson’s yesterday, they are also going through “liquidation”. They had items that normally sold for $100-$200 labeled as regular price somewhere between $350-$449. Anyone who knew their usual price point would know those original prices were inflated. But the place was packed with people and lots of them buying multiple coats and items.

    My only deduction is that people are stupid and I need to get in on the liquidation racket.

  20. Aladdyn says:

    One of the nice things about living in new hampshire is that if someone happened to buy that dvd player they could still return it as we have a state law that says all things must work as intended. Doesnt matter what it says on signs and small print.

  21. SaraAB87 says:

    I think this is normal for technology related goods. Most of these items drop in retail price significantly over time. The price listed on amazon as the retail price was most likely the original retail price at some point in time, but as new technology comes out, the price goes down. Thats why you see memory cards for like, 299$, because yes they did cost that much at one time. I don’t think amazon lists insane retail prices on any of their stuff at all, most of it is very accurate, and I shop in both retail stores and online and it does match up.

  22. Primate says:

    I think what you all seem to be missing is CompUSA is likely not setting these prices any more. It’s likely the liquidation company at work. While you may all have valid complaints about CompUSA, this one isn’t really their doing.

  23. reeg2 says:

    got applecare for my macbook pro for $100. can’t argue with that.

  24. ITDEFX says:

    This is just CompUSSR’s way of saying “THANK YOU” to the customers for NOT shopping with them over the years.

  25. timmus says:

    For Chrissake, how many times do we have to beat this dead horse that this is NOT CompUSA. The CompUSA liquidators, Gordon Brothers, are running the show here. This is, for all practical purposes, a Gordon Brothers technology store. I don’t doubt that CompUSA would do something this stupid, but let’s bestow stupidity where stupidity is due.

  26. ITDEFX says:

    Because no one in the General Public knows that Gordon Brothers is doing the liquidation…so they blame CompUSA. :)

  27. vastrightwing says:

    Deception: You go to a “retail” store expecting to buy brand new in box merchandise that actually works. Further, at the price they’re trying to get for the item, you would not expect it to be broken. A broken DVD player should sell for about $15 – $20. There are no serviceable parts in there.

  28. goodkitty says:

    You always have to check prices. I was looking for a computer desk yesterday… the model I wanted was $79 at Office Depot (on sale, $110 regularly). I went to another local furniture store who had a huge ‘SALE’ sign on the same model. Their price? $115. Yeah, more than OD’s everyday price. And it was “on sale.” The non-sale price was something like $135. Buyer beware.

  29. @reeg2:

    at the end of the day, that’s one hell of a deal! I still don’t see how apple lets this kind of uber deal’ness happen

    still…something that costs $350 normally for $100 is really sick-just make sure you register it, otherwise you’re facing an annoying phone call and unnecessary receipt/serial number headache that could have easily been avoided)

    I’m an Apple Certified Portable/Desktop Tech and see this kind of thing happen every day. REGISTER YOUR APPLECARE PEOPLE-IT DOESN’T TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. Seriously…5 minutes of making an apple account, filling out the name/address/email/phone # will really pay off in the end

  30. MisterE says:

    At least they had the decency to disclaim the damn thing doesn’t work!

  31. SaraAB87 says:

    Yeah, I just saved 40$ on a memory card by buying online, the retail store price around here is 80$ for the card at almost all stores and some charge even more.

    You especially have to check prices on video games, prices can be ALL over the place. It was even worse when we had more retail stores here, because every store would have a different price and sometimes it would be as much as a 30$ difference just for a 5 min drive. You can also have a situation where you are in a plaza and shopping at a Gamestop and since they raise prices on most new Nintendo DS games by 5$ a game you can just walk to the store next door and get it for 5$ less (but there are still people that overpay at Gamestop despite the fact that most are in shopping plazas with another store that sells video games here). Its a little more uniform now but you still have to shop around for the best deal and watch for price drops carefully.

  32. madanthony says:

    Heh. I stopped by the Towson, MD store today. Among the fine items available:

    – a linksys router with a tag saying “will not pull or distribute IP addreses”

    -a Toshiba laptop hard drive with a tag saying “will not read or write”

    -an apple power supply with a tag saying “does not work”

    – a cell phone with a tag saying “backlight does not come on, dented”

    – a systemax pc with a will not boot sign

    -a row of old, yellowed crt monitors for $7.50 each, including a gateway2000 that someone had magic markered with “DNC FIELD DESTROY”

    I guess I have to give them props for actually marking the stuff that didn’t work, and I guess if you have the time some of it could probably be fixed under warranty – but at the prices they were asking, not worth it.

    I keep hoping at some point the prices will get low enough to be deals, but not yet.

  33. riverstyxxx says:

    I was going to say a few things, but you guys covered it :)

  34. Paulyshoreis.dead says:

    Funny, but my first dvd player was from Best Buy and was also a used unit. See, I bought a dvd of Office Space the day it came out and after I bought it, I realized I had no way to watch it. So off to Best Buy…. It ate the dvd and wouldn’t play or even eject the dvd. I took it back for a refund and they hassled me about not getting the money back for the dvd. After about five minutes of hassling with the customer service people I loudly asked to get a bleeping hammer and screwdriver so I could get my dvd back.

    The manager popped out of nowhere and authorize the return. I went over to Radio Shack and bought one. I know, frying pan to fire but it still works…

  35. Frostberg says:

    Making a profit vs selling a defective dvd player which doesnt work for $180 are different things. Profits help businesses, I’m all for that. It is just stupid to sell a defective dvd player for $180.

  36. Cupajo says:

    I was in there the other day and they had a display model of a Microsoft Natural Mouse on “sale” for $60. This thing was scuffed up, had no box or manual, was taped up with the receiver…

    And it was 4 dollars more expensive than a brand new one from newegg.

    Fuck Gordon brothers.

  37. consum3rist says:

    “No wonder they went out of business” – thats the line comes to mind everytime I see compusa mess.

    I had personal experience with compusa which are to sour to recite…anyways good riddiance

  38. Bay State Darren says:

    I would like to watch the CompUSA guys on The Price Is Right. They’d keep going over the actual price so much, it’d be funny.

  39. schiff says:

    I just bought it, its great! I love my new dvd player paper weight!

  40. SomeoneGNU says:

    Why is it stupid to sell a defective DVD player for $180 if you can find someone to buy it? If no one buys it, the price goes down. Eventually someone will buy it or it will be tossed out.

    They could easily list it for a thousand dollars and it would not affect me in the slightest bit. Nor do I really consider this to be anywhere near “news worthy”. Now, had they sold a knowingly defective unit at that price *without* alerting the consumer, that’s new worthy. This? This is just the mob beating their chest.

    I will be looking forward to the next, “oh my, some item sold at some store has a markup greater than 0%” post so I can get my pitchfork and torch ready. Till then, have a good evening and try not to stress yourself out over the stupid things in life. They are everywhere. If you concern yourself with them, you will only go insane.

  41. warf0x0r says:

    @thedanza: agreed.

  42. StevieD says:

    “As is” and “does not work” is code for employee keeping the item on the shelf until it is 70% off at which point the employee’s girl friend buys the unit and has a fine, fully functional DVD player.

  43. MelL says:

    @SomeoneGNU: They’re knowingly trying to sell you trash and not even trying to hide it. That’s actually kind of insulting, at least to me, for a company to think I would want to buy their garbage.

  44. riverstyxxx says:

    I just bought it so the cockroaches and rats would have a place to call their own at night out in the shed.

    There, I said something no one else did. I’m cool, I know.

  45. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    What’s wrong with this? They a re telling you exactly what you are getting and you are STILL complaining!? I know, you are waiting for taxing the rich people to pay for it before you are happy. Freakin, commies.

  46. Cupajo says:

    My biggest gripe with this liquidation sale is that they won’t take refunds (which is understandable), but they don’t want anyone opening cartons (which is bullshit). I was thinking about picking up a Zalman PC water-cooling kit today, but I could tell that the original seal had been broken on the box and they had resealed it with packing tape.. Hell, for all I know the box is filled with styrofoam and bricks.

  47. sadistblue says:

    I also went to CompUSA and they were selling defective Xbox360’s at a marked down from $359.99 to $299.99. At first I was a little excited myself to see the small markdown, because I was looking for any excuse to buy another one since my ring of death. However upon asking about the product the employee who didn’t look like he gave a shit laughed at me, and said they were all broken. Upon talking to the kid it was blatantly apparent no one even cared about the store at that point.

  48. DanC922 says:

    I worked at CompUSA during the closing sale here, and I thought all the “does not work” or “missing parts” stuff selling for full price was really dumb. But like others said, it’s not CompUSA that is setting the stupid prices.

    I did get some good deals thanks to a nice manager though. I got 200+ feet of ethernet cable, 4 like new USB extension cables, a 3 foot like new HDMI cable, 3 used but good surge protectors, an extension cord, 4 computer power cords, and a couple other things for under $30.

    The store here is closed now, so I can say that everything (except for a couple things) will be 50% to 90% off in the last few days of the stores if you can find anything you want to buy. I think laptops went to 40% off last couple days.

  49. Logan26 says:

    CompUSA in Columbia Maryland is trying to sell a Son BR player, Used, display model for 420 after discount. Guess what they say retail cost is? 700 bucks!

  50. crankymediaguy says:

    “It costs Starbucks well under $4.00 for a cafe mocha.”

    Gee, thanks for the lesson on the profit motive, Sparky.

    Your analogy doesn’t work because Starbucks doesn’t try to sell a cafe mocha made with curdled milk for the same price as a perfectly good one, which is the equivalent of what CompUSA is trying to do here.

    You Libertarian types need to learn that there is a LARGE grey area between Communism and the Robber Baron mentality.

  51. Snarkysnake says:


    My wife and I loved to shop liquidation sales BEFORE it became almost universal practice for said sale to be conducted by liquidation companies.There are no bargains as such to be had at these things now (not just at CompUSA but other chains) Liquidation companies are just another layer of cost piled on top of the already uncompetitive prices that these failed chains charge.Other practices such as bringing in merchandise from other failed stores (makes comparison difficult) and inflating the former “everyday” price means that only suckers think that they are getting a deal at a going out of business sale these days…Sad.

  52. mike says:

    @rolla: I’ve sold non-working stuff before. I know there are a lot of hobbiest(sp?) out there that want to take stuff apart or make something else. I’m sure you can take the defective DVD player and pull the laser out and put it on a shark’s head (obscure?).

    I always tell people it’s not working, and end up getting a few bucks for it.

  53. Bobg says:

    I’ve said it before but…why does big business consider their customers the enemy?

  54. redhelix says:

    That can actually be a pretty solid deal, as I’m sure it’s an expensive DVD player and buying it for parts would be cheaper than getting them from the manufacturer. A hell of a lot cheaper, in fact.

    When I was in NYC last week, I also saw them selling a 40″ LCD TV with a cracked screen for $100. I could probably fix that for around $600, which is a good deal.

  55. Coder4Life says:

    This is not compusa for the last time people. Blame Gordon Brothers, they are the one’s doing the pricing…

    Also yeah at the CompUSA i was at, they were selling a 40in samsung lcd tv, $1600 retail 50% marked off. Labeled for $1000. I don’t think that’s 50% but above that it said Cracked Screen.

    You want $1000 for a cracked screen LCD what are you kidding wtih me??? They also wanted $50 for their Carts.

  56. cef21 says:

    @Frostberg: No. It’s just stupid to buy a defective DVD player at that price.

    It’s a small, but important point: there’s no evidence that the DVD player ever got sold. Right now, it’s just offered for sale at that price.

    The people who really should be complaining about this aren’t the customers, but the creditors. The customers have clear and fair notice that it’s defective. The creditors, however, should be annoyed — it will never sell at the current price, so they’ll get $0. But, if the price was cut by 90%, maybe somebody would buy it.

  57. cwlodarczyk says:

    I just wanted to pitch in that I shopped my local Comp USA last week and had the same experience as what’s noted in the article. There was a broken laptop hard drive to be had for $160 and a 50″ plasma tv with a completely smashed screen marked to move at $2400.

    I didn’t find anything in the store that I couldn’t get at the same price elsewhere.

    fwiw – the prices on fixtures and shelving were actually pretty good.

  58. Tank says:

    but it’s a $300 value!

  59. redhelix says:

    @cwlodarczyk: Now that’s pretty atrocious. A smashed laptop hard drive can’t be fixed or even salvaged for parts; there’s no point in even trying to sell it.

  60. pandroid says:

    @Hawk07: I actually bought an ink cartridge for my printer and saved about $10. Those things never go on sale, and I checked on the net and still couldn’t find a better price, so I snagged one. But everything else I saw there was a terrible deal.

  61. brandiniman says:

    @rolla: What you have to realize is that CompUSA is no longer a company and you’re not actually dealing with CompUSA but the liquidation company. Stop beating a dead horse and start bitching at the people who ARE making these decisions.

  62. mike1731 says:

    Not sure about other stores, but the CompUSA in Wichita KS concluded it’s sale last week and is now closed for good. Lots of old display models for sale at the end, couldn’t have imagined it being too busy for the final week or so…

  63. PabloPablo says:

    @thedanza: Watch out, if you complain about their news articles too much and ask for real news, you’ll get your commenting access removed no questions asked.

    That’s what happened to a guy I know from another website.

    But regarding this news, I don’t see the real problem with them selling the unit. They are selling it with full disclosure. Maybe the item is returnable, so it doesn’t matter if it’s broke. CompUSA probably doesn’t have the time to wait for it to be repaired/replaced.

  64. sam1am says:

    Well at least they told you it didn’t work up front. I bought something their that didn’t work but was sold as new. I was just SOL.

  65. RvLeshrac says:


    If you don’t think customers are the enemy, you’ve never worked retail!

    The majority of them are perfectly sane and don’t cause trouble…. but the minority is vocal and stupid. That’s why it is so hard to find good help for retail – sometimes you deserve hazard pay.