Buyers beware liquidation sales

By Morgan Chesky - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

Circuit City, Goody's and Linens-N-Things were all forced to shut their doors, but not before big liquidation sales promise shoppers big discounts. Art Betancourt knew just what he wanted.

"[I] showed up today lookin' for a new video camera or a camcorder," said Betancourt.

But instead of buying that new camera from Circuit City, he will actually be paying a liquidation firm like Hudson Capital Partners, one of four firms who've split the bill on Circuit City's remaining 1.7 billion dollars worth of merchandise.

"They're either hiring liquidators to come in and liquidate the products or they are selling they're whole inventory to these liquidator sales," explained Linda Bailey of the Better Business Bureau.

To show how liquidators make going out of business a business, we chose four Circuit City sale items to see how much you're really saving.

First up, a fifty inch Panasonic HD TV being liquidated at $1,499 at Circuit City. We found the same TV, everything included, for just under $1000 at

Next, we looked at a Canon Camcorder at Circuit City, slashed to $719.99. At Tiger the identical camera was eighty bucks cheaper.

For Superbowl shoppers, we priced a 52 inch Samsung TV, a twenty percent Circuit City liquidation discount put it a little over $2300, while lists it at $2148.99, saving you over $150.

Finishing up, we checked on a one terabyte external hard drive, on sale at Circuit City it listed around $230, but at the same hardrive was a different price, weighing in at two hundred bucks.

The internet isn't the only place you'll find the price difference. We came to Best Buy and found a fifty inch Samsung TV for $1499. At Circuit City the identical TV will cost you $100 more.

So buyer beware. Whether it is Circuit City, Goody's or Linens-N-Things, any store liquidators operate the same. They advertise big discounts but not before raising prices. The prices may eventually get cut rate low but for now the best advice is do your homework.

While our price comparson did show better deals can be had if you shop around, you should know prices at Circuit City continue to fall. TVs marked at ten percent off on Wednesday are now sitting with a twenty percent discount.