CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As hhgregg becomes the latest retailer to announce it is shuttering its doors and slicing its prices, the Better Business Bureau cautions shoppers to beware before they buy at closeout sales.
The electronics retailer is currently boasting store closing sales of up to 30 percent off. But shoppers need to do their research about what that really means, according to Tom Bartholomy, President of the BBB of Southern Piedmont.
“You can't just get sucked in by the advertising, by the hype, by the promotion of it,” Bartholomy says. “You gotta take a little bit deeper dive on it.”
Bartholomy says the BBB has had problems with hhgregg misleading customers in the past by using vague pricing language like, “suggested retail price.”
“Who suggested that price,” he questions. “It's 70 percent off. Seventy percent off of what? Whoever paid that original price that they're quoting?”
Bartholomy says, since the retailer has announced it is closing, there have not been any reports thus far of it directly misleading customers. However like with any going-out-of-business sale, the prices may not be as good as they appear, he says.
“Sure, go there and shop it see what kind of deal you can get but then compare,” he says. “You still have to be a good shopper, a good consumer and do your homework and see where really the best deal is.”
HHGregg announced it is closing all 220 of its stores after filing for bankruptcy last month and failing to find a buyer. The stores are beginning liquidation immediately, and expect to close by the end of May.
Bartholomy says customers need to be extra vigilant with liquidation sales. Once a bankruptcy court orders a liquidator to come in, Bartholomy says the sole goal is to raise as much capital as possible.
He says it is not uncommon for liquidators to bring in off-label brands and sell them as deeply discounted. Consumers are often left without any protections, or safeguards for the items they buy.