Many shopping centers across America are looking like wastelands these days, with hundreds of store closings
Sears, Macy's, JC Penney, Gamestop, Radio Shack and Payless Shoe Source are just a few of the retailers shuttering at least some stores.
The biggest, though, so far in 2017: Indianapolis-based appliance retailer hh gregg, closing all 200 of it sstores in 19 states.
The bankrupt chain says it had no choice but to liquidate after being unable to find a buyer.
Shoppers look for deals
As the sale signs are going up, shoppers are lining up for deals.
Northern Kentucky mom Peggy Jackson was hoping for a great deal. But with discounts of just 10 to 15%, she walked out empty handed about 10 minutes later.
"The prices are too high, for something that's going out of business," Jackson said.
Bill Brohaugh also didn't find anything worth his while, either.
"Apparently you have to haul it off yourself," he said, "and obviously I'm not going to fit a refrigerator in that car."
Caution for shoppers
With so many stores going out of business this year, it's tempting to try to grab a bargain before those doors lock for good.
But you need to realize that normal buyer protections may not exist.
Sandra Guile of the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau says before you shop a liquidation, ask what happens if the item is defective. In many cases you cannot return it, but will have to call and deal with the manufacturer if you have a problem.
"Take a really close look at the merchandise, make sure it works, make sure the packaging isn't broken." she said. "Take a look at the refund polices."
Also, if you recently bought an extended warranty, find out who will handle it once the store closes.
"If you bought an extended warranty on an appliance or product, read the fine print, find out who that warranty is through," Guile said. Many people simply call the store if they have a problem, but you cannot do that if your store is out of business.
Good news for shoppers: hh gregg uses a third party company to run its warranties, but make sure you have that company's information and can find your receipt.
Finally, the BBB says use any gift cards as soon as possible.
It's a good idea to use gift cards to any store that has filed bankruptcy, or announced widespread store closings. You never know if the end is near.
As for the sales, you may want to wait for bigger markdowns. The first couple of weeks of a liquidation sale typically do not have great deals: you will be getting 25% off full list price, which may be a higher than the price it was at a month ago.
As always, don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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