Local

Shop With Caution: Sales Might Not Be A Good Deal

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Written By Jodi Brooks
DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado-based Ultimate Electronics is closing all 46 of its stores. Nine of those are located in Colorado. As the company liquidates its merchandise, there appears to be a real opportunity to get a good deal.

“Everything on Sale,” “Store Closing,” “Huge Storewide Savings,” read the signs outside of the stores. The signs scream deal, but what kind of deal can a consumer get at a liquidation sale?

TJ Kraus, a shopper who left the store said, “Overall, not too impressed.”

Shoppers do offer some advice. David Haas, another shopper who left the store said, “Investigate it, shop and compare.”

CBS4 went shopping with a hidden camera rolling and the sales people, most of who work on commission, didn’t try to hide anything.

“If you see something you like, 2 or 3 weeks it’s going to be cheaper,” one sales man said.

A professional liquidator handles the sale. Its goal is to make as much money as possible for Ultimate Electronics, which is why shoppers should do their homework.

“The liquidation company came and took everything to manufacturer retail price,” another sales man said.

CBS4’s Jodi Brooks asked, “So they moved them up?”

“Didn’t move them up, just took off all of our sales,” he said.

So the prices are higher.

“They are betting on their fear of loss. They’re selling them fear of loss. They are wanting people to buy because they feel yes, it may go down in a couple weeks, but it’s probably not going to be here, so you better go and buy it,” a sales man told Brooks.

Brooks did some comparison shopping on TVs. The salesmen encouraged it after they said “Best Buy has the best deals right now.”

Brooks looked at three Sony TVs. Ultimate Electronics and Best Buy carry the same ones.

– Sony 55″, LCD, 1080p, 120Hz — Ultimate Electronics price $1529 vs. Best Buy’s price $1499.
— Sony 55″, LED, 1080p, 120Hz — Ultimate Electronics price $2069 vs. Best Buy’s price $1999.
— Sony 46″, LCD, 1080p, 60Hz  —  Ultimate Electronics price $764 vs. Best Buy’s price $699.

Each TV, when Brooks did a price check, was cheaper at Best Buy. Not by a lot, but by enough to notice the difference.

The salesmen at Ultimate Electronics do say prices will go down.

“I think they will but will we have stock at, by the time that comes around because we don’t know until the morning of. Hey, we’ve got to change the prices,” a salesman said.

Price drops are not advertised to the sales team, but they’ve noticed a trend.

“Tends to be a Wednesday or Thursday when they do the drops, going through the weekend,” a salesman said.

There are some deals. Video games are on sale and so are movies. One shopper bought a noise reduction system for his car. He said, “Like the regular car audio stores, it’s a lot more … at least $100 more.”

Keep in mind all sales are final.

“Everything is a good deal, but nothing spectacular until we sell through some inventory,” a salesman said.

So buyer beware.

“I bought a 40-inch flat screen and I paid $389 for it, and the same flat screen is double the price here” a shopper said.

Steep discounts will come eventually, just not now.

Brooks did attempt to contact the liquidator handling the sale, but never heard back.

Ultimate Electronics will close April 15. It’s not clear what they’ll have left in terms of merchandise, but just before then is when the deals will be happening.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially since the sales staff works on commission.

Best Buy said they would match any price within $100 to $200.

Ultimate Electronics still offers the manufacturer warranty, extended warranty are available. But know that extended warranties will be handled through a third party instead of dealing directly with the store.

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