What to do when businesses close their doors

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

In this challenging economy, it’s an unfortunate reality businesses are closing their doors every day.

To assist residents of North Carolina, state Attorney General Roy Cooper has provided a list of tips to help us deal with companies that are going out of business to keep us from being left high and dry.

Cooper suggests the following:

First of all, 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, and it’s 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.

It’s surprising how many people just give up when these things happen to them, but it’s our right to fight back and demand what we’re due.

Many retail stores preparing to close their doors have liquidation or going out of business sales.

We’ve all been to so-called lowest price sales where the discounts still aren’t exactly in our budget. I often wonder if the “sale” is just a marketing ploy.

For those looking for a bargain among the sales, Cooper recommends keeping the following tips in mind:

•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 have 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 at (877) 5-NO-SCAM or by visiting www.ncdoj.gov to download a complaint form.

sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or swilson@brunswickbeacon.com.