Investigation finds Arnaud's Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie's Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
The BBB of Acadiana, which monitors local advertising, has turned up three questionable (to put it mildly) going out of business sales in the local market.
A recent investigation by BBB of Acadiana revealed that Arnaud's Furniture on Verot School Road, Carroll Building Specialties Inc. on Luke Drive and Crazy Charlie's Shoes on Ambassador Caffery Parkway had been breaking the BBB's Code of Advertising as well as state guidelines for going out of business sales.
However, the BBB noted that as of Aug. 18, the state reported that all three companies have begun the process for the proper registration to continue this type of advertising.
According to the BBB's code: "Liquidation and going out of business sales should not be advertised unless the stated or implied reason is a fact, should be limited to a stated period of time, and should offer only such merchandise as is affected by the emergency. Advertisers should conform with the requirements of applicable local, state and federal laws."
Additionally, the state requires that the use of such terms be used for a maximum of six months after a license is obtained from the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section.
BBB of Acadiana says it closely monitors these sales and over the last month contacted Arnaud's Furniture, Crazy Charlie's and Carroll's, urging them to comply with the BBB Code of Advertising and begin the process of properly registering for a license from the state.
Arnaud's Furniture had been advertising "12 months interest free," and one consumer complaint against the business alleged the business ordered new merchandise. Businesses are not supposed to bring in new merchandise when advertising that they are going out of business/liquidating/closing the doors forever.
BBB offers the following tips when shopping a "going out of business" sale:
· Shop around and compare prices. Just because a business is advertising that it is closing does not mean it is offering the lowest prices on merchandise.
· Use a credit card. Credit cards include built-in consumer protections if the company does not deliver on promised goods and BBB recommends making purchases with a credit card instead of checks or cash.
· Don't count on customer service. Customer service is not a liquidator's priority, and consumers expecting the same level of customer service might be very disappointed. Since the company won't be around in the future, consumers need to understand that all sales are final and that they don't have many options if they aren't satisfied with the purchase.
· Know the status on warranties. Warranties are often maintained by a manufacturer or a third-party, which means that the warranty will still apply if the retailer goes out of business. However, the consumer should always confirm the status of the warranty before buying.
· Use those gift cards ASAP. Businesses that have entered into the liquidation process will not be around for very long and BBB advises that any consumers who are holding gift cards spend them as soon as possible or risk getting stuck with a worthless piece of plastic.