"During these tough times, consumers really want to make sure they get what they pay for," Cooper said. "My office stands ready to try to help customers when a business shuts its doors."
With retailers including national chains such as Linens N Things and Circuit City going out of business, many consumers are left wondering what to do if a company they do business with closes.
Here are some helpful tips:
- If you paid for merchandise by credit card and never received it, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge in writing.
- If you purchased an extended warranty, check to see if a third party holds the warranty and if it will still be honored.
- If you have a problem with a product that is still under manufacturer's warranty, contact the manufacturer directly for repairs.
- If the company continues to debit money from your bank account for a service that is no longer available, file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.
- If the company files for bankruptcy, you may need to file a claim with the federal bankruptcy court in the state where the business is headquartered. Many retailers that shut down hold liquidation or going out of business sales. Keep the following tips in mind before you go searching for a deal at these sales:
- Despite promises of deep discounts, the prices offered at going out of business sales aren't necessarily the lowest available. Shop around and check out prices at other retailers before you buy to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
- Know the rules. Most liquidation sales allow only certain forms of payment such as cash or credit cards. In most cases, all sales are final and products are sold without a warranty. Also, most liquidation sales do not accept coupons or gift cards.
- State law requires businesses to get a permit from local government before advertising or holding a going out of business sale. You can check to see if the liquidator has a permit from your local government. Some businesses instead get authorization to hold a going out of business sale from a federal bankruptcy court.
If you've experienced a problem with a business shutting down or a liquidation sale, file a complaint with Cooper's Consumer Protection Division by calling toll free 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by visiting www.ncdoj.gov www.ncdoj.gov to download a complaint form.