When anyone sees the sign or an advertisement that claims “Going out of Business Sale” instinctively he or she will think, “yes, I can get the best deals there”. In theory these sales should in fact save you the most money possible, based simply on the fundamental idea that the store will no longer be operational when the sale is finished. However this is not necessarily so and it therefore requires some vigilance on the part of any customer who is immediately moved to spend money at these sales. There are a couple factors to consider that can make these prices less competitive. Also in recent times there has been an increase in the number of “going out of business sales” because of the recession that has not been kind to many stores that have lost their viability. Fortunately there has been some media coverage on this issue which has helped to uncover some of the less than scrupulous activities that have occured during these sales.

Factors that May Affect Liquidation Sales

The predominant factor that leads to less substantial benefits from these types of sales are as a result of the use of liquidators who often manage these sales. Most larger chains will hire liquidation companies to carry out these sales. Once a liquidator is involved they will try to obtain the greatest profit on behalf of their company. They do not operate at a loss nor do they discount the items in favour of the customers. It has been suggested that liquidators often raise the prices at the start of the sale and progressively lower these prices during the period in which the sale will last. An excerpt from an article done by ABC news reporters Elisabeth Leamy and Vanessa Weber entitled “Going-Out-of-Business Sales Not Always Such a Bargain” had these findings to report:

When we shopped at the Linens ‘n Things liquidation sale, we noticed something strange. On product after product we could peel back the surface price tags to reveal the old prices below. For example, the surface price tag on a Calphalon saucepan said $124.99. But the one underneath said $109.99. Rachael Ray cookware? $199 on the new label, $179 on the old. The tag on a curtain scarf said $39.99 on the top, but peel it back carefully and there was another price tag for $27.99 below.

Carrying a hidden camera, we asked a clerk why there were price tags on top of price tags. She said that they were instructed to cover up old Linens ‘n Things prices and replace them with the liquidators’ prices. Liquidators hire many of the original store clerks like her to stay on, so they are familiar with how the pricing changes.

When we pointed out that the product originally was cheaper, the clerk said, “It used to be when it was on clearance. Right now, it’s not clearance, it’s just a discount. Not great deals at all.

It is therefore clear that liquidators are not above misleading customers into believing that the products are sufficiently discounted and are possibly the lowest prices they will encounter during that period. The liquidators as said before function purely to make a profit. They will not close the sale with a loss. It is even said that these liquidators will sell any excess merchandise to overseas locations that are more willing to buy merchandise at any cost in lieu of reducing the price below a profitable margin.

Another factor that may affect going out of business sales may be as a result of illegal activities. This simply refers to those sales that are truly not going out of business sales. In instances such as this a sign that indicates a closing down sale will be put up, however there will be no actual reduction in the prices. In certain states laws are put in place to reduce the numbers of cams that occur. However they still manifest occasionally and are most obvious when the store is located within an individual’s area. For example you may see a going out of business sale that occurs for a fairly long period. In such illegitimate sales you may recognize that the stock does not dwindle; the shelves are undoubtedly being restocked periodically. Some shady business people take advantage of the misconception that going out of business sales will provide the consumer with the best savings. Subsequently they will place these signs on their doors regularly or periodically to attract the unsuspecting customer.

Avoid Being Scammed

  • The best way to ensure you are not scammed at any going out of business sales is to shop around. This is something that cannot be stressed enough. You cannot rely on the owners or liquidators to tell you what the best price on any product should be. Regardless of why the company went out of business, if it indeed went out of business, is irrelevant, it will still try to claim as much of the profits as possible. You can shop around by visiting multiple stores physically or going online to research the price of various items. For example if you were going to an electronic store that is currently being liquidated. You may go to other websites or stores that sell electronics to get a general idea of the pricing for each individual item. If you were aiming to buy a CD player and saw that the identical player in another store was much cheaper then it is clear that you will not be obtaining the best deals at this sale. You can take your time to shop around, the store will not be closed in a couple of days as many of these sales may possibly last weeks. Therefore you will have enough time to do some much needed comparison shopping and online research.
  • Because the store will be closed once the sale has been completed you will need to ensure that all products that are bought are carefully scrutinized and found to be working. If you are buying electronics you should receive a warranty that will be of great use should anything befall your new equipment. The item should also be tested. Never leave the store with any electronic that has not been proven to work. If you are buying a DVD player you may need to test it with a DVD that you will bring with you. Ask the clerk to insert the DVD into the player that should be connected to an output device or television screen. Once you are satisfied that the player performs as it should then you can proceed with buying the product. Be very wary of any sales that claim they do not have an open box policy. Whatever items you buy should be available to be reviewed by you, the customer. If they are unwilling to grant you this necessary request, it is recommended that you do not buy that particular item during the going out of business sale.
  • Though shopping around has been mentioned. A good tip to follow during these sales is to visit the competitors who may institute competing sale prices. Because this is not a strict rule, it is still advisable that you compare prices. However it is still a great idea to visit a few of their competitors to see if the current “going out of business sale” has had the desired effect of influencing other sales.

How to Find Going out of Business Sales

  • If the company is a large enough company these sales will be widely advertised on the television. You may see these advertisements on regular network channels quite often.
  • Another great place to check is your local newspaper or other newspapers that should also advertise these sales frequently.
  • The internet is also another search tool that will provide you with sufficient information on these types of sales.
  • If you are an avid radio listener you will also have the privilege of using this source to detect any “going out of business sales”.

Despite the assumed attractiveness of “going out of business sales” you must always remember that not all “going out of business sales” will enable the best deals. If you are careful and not an impulsive shopper, it is unlikely that you will fall victim to the widespread delusion that these sales will deliver automatic bargains.