BBB urges caution in American TV liquidation sale

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to be extra vigilant before purchasing any merchandise in the American TV & Appliance liquidation sale, which will begin Thursday at 9 a.m.

On Monday, Madison-based American TV & Appliance announced that is going out of business and will begin liquidating its inventory of appliances, furniture and bedding and electronics.

In its alert today, the BBB stated, “Consumers are always on the lookout for good deals, and a ‘closing sale’ or ‘liquidation sale’ sounds like a good place to get rock-bottom prices. Your BBB is warning bargain hunters to be on the alert, because liquidation sales are often handled by third parties, consumers could actually be paying an inflated price instead of getting a discount.”

The BBB issued the following advice for any liquidation sale:
* Shop around: Make sure it’s a bargain, just because it is a “closing sale” doesn’t mean it is the lowest price available for that item.
* Use your gift cards as soon as possible: BBB recommends that consumers holding gift cards use them as soon as possible to avoid getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.
* Use a credit card, if possible: Unlike personal checks or cash, credit cards include built-in protection if the liquidator does not deliver on promised goods.
* Ask and understand the warranties: These are typically “As is” sales with no return policy but warranties are often serviced by a manufacturer or third party. This means the warranty may still apply, even if the retailer goes out of business.
* Check the item you’re buying thoroughly: Carefully inspect merchandise, and understand you are typically not able to return items after purchase, regardless of reason.
* Don’t expect top notch customer service: Floor staff may be limited.
* Don’t be afraid to haggle: It never hurts to ask when something is being sold “As is.”

Finally, consumers should keep in mind that all liquidation sales are final and that they don’t have many options if they are not satisfied or have over paid for a purchase, the agency said.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org.

American TV & Appliance has 11 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, including locations in Brown Deer, Oak Creek and Waukesha.

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