Safe Families

Aug 18, 2014 3:23 PM

BBB alerts consumers to Going Out of Business' advertising

Better Business Bureau strives to create and ethical marketplace in Acadiana where buyers and sellers can trust one another. BBB accomplishes this by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging best business practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

One major function of the BBB since it was created in 1912 has been to monitor local advertising in accordance with the BBB Code of Advertising.

A recent investigation by BBB of Acadiana revealed three businesses, Arnaud's Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties Inc. and Crazy Charlie's Shoes, have recently been advertising outside of BBB Code of Advertising and state guidelines.

However, as of August 18, the state reported that all three companies have now begun the process for the proper registration to continue this type of advertising.

According to the BBB Code of Advertising, ""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."

The State of Louisiana requires that the use of such terms be used for a maximum of 6 months after a license is obtained from the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section.

This is very closely monitored by BBB of Acadiana.

Over the last month, Aranud's, Crazy Charlie's and Carroll's have been contacted by BBB and agreed comply with BBB Code of Advertising and agreed to begin the process of properly registering for a license from the state.

Arnaud's Furniture was contacted about the issue July 24, but as of Aug. 13, BBB still have not received a response concerning the ad claims. BBB has sent the company at least two letters without a response and confirmed with employees that the business has not yet set a firm closing date.

The company is also advertising "12 months interest free." One recent 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.

According to BBB, people are exposed to as many as 3,000 to 5,000 advertising messages daily through TV, radio, the internet, publications, billboards and other media sources. BBB offers the following tips when shopping a "going out of business" sale:

· Start with Trust®. Check with us at bbb.org before doing business.

· Shop around and compare prices. Just because a business is advertising that it is closing does not mean they are 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.


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