Here’s some consumer electronics heartache for you. A couple in Boston bought an $1100 Samsung TV from Circuit City’s liquidation sale, only to find out that, once they got home and opened it up, it was shattered. Why didn’t they inspect it at the store, you ask? Well, apparently the signs in the store say “DO NOT OPEN THE MERCHANDISE” alongside other signs that say “ALL SALES FINAL” and “CHECK YOUR PURCHASES,” among others.
Guess who refused to return the broken TV? Yes, that’s right, Circuit City – rather, the liquidation company that’s handling the selling-off of Circuit City’s assets. So you can’t open the merchandise to check it before you buy it, but you’re supposed to check your purchases even though all sales are final.
A big part of this problem may be that the couple drove the TV to their house before opening it. A case could be made that the TV shattered in the car, right? You shove it in the back seat, screen facing forward, and slam on the breaks – that could cause a screen to shatter.
It’d be interesting to see what would have happened if the couple had opened the TV in the store right after paying for it. If the TV had been shattered, it would have probably been a much tougher case for the liquidation company to refuse a refund.
But who’s going to unbox a gigantic TV before putting it in their car? The kicker here is that this liquidation is covered under federal bankruptcy laws, not local laws, so the couple isn’t covered like they normally would be had they purchased the TV under normal circumstances.
A spokesman for the liquidation group, Great American Group said, “We have signs posted indicating all sales are final,” and “Consumers are protected by the manufacturers warranty.”
But Samsung wouldn’t help Gina and Emilio, saying their TV was damaged, not defective, and not their concern.
“No one’s there to help us … we’re out $1,100,” Gina said.
Gina has appealed to her credit card company but so far Citizens Bank has not said whether it will help.
We’ve been covering this liquidation for a while now and it’ll be nice when it’s finally all over since there haven’t been a whole lot of heartwarming stories coming out of it. The important thing to remember is that liquidation firms are not in the business of providing customer service or making sure they’ll maintain lifelong customers. They’re in the business of selling whatever’s left in a store as quickly as possible at as high a price as consumers are willing to pay. Once it’s paid for and out the door, they’ll likely do whatever it takes to keep merchandise from coming back into the store.
If you’re going to shop liquidation sales, it’s probably best to stick to smaller ticket items like software, DVDs, and music – stuff you can’t normally return anyway. Not $1100 TVs that may very well have been mishandled in the back of the store.