Monday, January 19, 2009


Beware Circuit City liquidation

by Larry Geller

The liquidation of the Circuit City stores will follow a similar pattern to the recent selloff of CompUSA. The liquidation is in the hands of professionals (Hilco Trading Company). Hilco was one of three firms that handled the liquidation of $1.8 billion Montgomery Ward when it closed up. They are good at what they do, which is to get top dollar for what they have purchased.

So visiting a Circuit City store now hoping for a special bargain is not the best thing for the gullible. Just because the sign says 20% off doesn’t mean you can’t do better elsewhere. It’s important to check.

Circuit City’s website was hurriedly taken down, probably to avoid price comparisons with “marked down” prices in the stores. Observant bloggers have already noted that the bargains are really not bargains.

A useful article I recommend reading is Circuit City Liquidation Sale Price Switch-Can You Beat It or Will It Beat You? on the HDGuru website. The writer made it to the Circuit City website before it was taken down and recorded some HDTV prices.

Model Store Price 10% Off Price Web Page Price
Samsung/PN50A550 $1999.99 $1799.99 $1699.99
Samsung/LN46A550 $1699.99 $1529.99 $1449.99
Samsung/LN52A750 $2999.99 $2699.99 $2699.99
Sony/KDL40V4100 $1399.99 $1259.99 $1199.99
Sony/KDL52XBR6 $3499.99 $3149.99 $3299.99

There’s an update to their article here, along with more prices and the conclusion: No deal.

Now, most us us will not have the advantage of this research. You just have to do your own. also gives advice about checking out the TV before purchase and on checking for concealed damage (they say that if you don’t check, the manufacturer might not honor the warranty).

Speaking of warranties, we’ve mentioned before that there are some special warranty issues if you live in Hawaii. Some companies don’t provide a warranty for products sold in Hawaii. We had to return an LCD monitor to Best Buy because, as we discovered when we opened it, the warranty was not valid here.

Another problem is that you will be depending on the manufacturer for repairs. If they require you to pay to ship your purchase back to them, it could easily more than wipe out any savings from purchase at a liquidation sale.

So caveat emptor. Tread carefully among the “bargains” and do your homework. The liquidators have one mission, and that’s to move the stuff out at the best price they can get. That’s it. The rest is up to you.


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