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Estate Sale Shopping Tip: Purchases Are Final

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Aug 21, 2014

1. Examine All Items

Once you walk out the door with your estate sale treasures, they belong to you and there are no returns. For this reason you need to really examine these previously loved couches, linens, tools, house wares and electronics upside down and backwards. Check if televisions work, linens are the size that fits, that couches have all four legs, and if you don’t want chips in the fine china that there are none. An estate sale is not a department store or big box outlet where return policies are liberal and the customer service departments are generous. It is an industry standard that the burden of giving a purchase the stamp of approval is on the buyer and all sales are final.

2. Buy with Eyes Open

I would love to be blunt and simply say: ‘buyer beware’. However, this sounds too harsh. It sounds as if someone is trying to trick or cheat you and you should watch your back. This is certainly not the case. An estate sale company loves nothing more than servicing their shoppers and providing a positive experience -- great finds for pennies on the dollar. But estate sales go up quickly, close down just as fast, and in large part, items are not new and they don’t belong to the estate sale company. There may not be time to try out all electronics (most that are flat out broken never make it to the sale) and the stain here or a tear there may be okay for one customer but not the next. The important thing is that you buy with eyes open and don’t have a surprise or disappointment when you go home because there is no going back.

3. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Estate sales are like a ‘pop-up’ retail store in that they are here today and gone tomorrow. They are not fly-by-night, but the nature of the business is that this particular kind of retail experience is temporary. By the end of a sale, clients have moved, the house has gone up for sale, and the estate sale company has closed the books on one project and opened activity on the next. If you have a second thought about the vacuum cleaner you snapped up or your spouse disagrees with the color of the couch you hauled home, you are out of luck.

4. Sales are Final

There is an old expression, which goes like this: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off”. I think it applies to the topic of this article. You might not like the idea that if you change your mind, or made a mistake about an estate sale purchase, that the vendor will not be there to correct it for you. But, understanding this will make you a better, happier shopper and an estate sale pro! Go out there and browse to buy or just for fun, but take note that when it comes to estate sales purchases the buck stops with you.

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