BBB warns shoppers ahead of American liquidation sale

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Huge crowds are expected on Thursday, February 20th for the American TV & Appliance's going-out-of-business sale. 11 stores will close their doors as soon as American liquidates its entire inventory. Before you whip out your wallet -- FOX6 News has a word of caution.

Deb Vieau and Kraig Zibolski are about halfway through building their dream home. They ordered appliances from American a couple months ago, and made a down payment that included delivery and installation in the spring.

"We ended up buying a washer, dryer, a couple TVs," Vieau told FOX6 News.

Then, on Monday, February 17th, American announced it will shut down its 11 stores after 60 years.

"The worst case scenario -- we thought that they were gonna close and we were gonna just be out of all our money," Vieau said.

American promised all customers with pending orders either delivery of their goods or a refund. Vieau and Zibolski got the latter.

"They did the exchange and put it back on our credit card," Zibolski said.

On Thursday, American will begin liquidating all of its inventory - and staff is expecting big crowds.

Ahead of the liquidation sale, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has advice for bargain hunters:

  • Check items you're buying thoroughly, because returns are not usually an option
  • Use gift cards as soon as possible, or they will become worthless plastic
  • Use a credit card if you can, because it has built-in protection if a liquidator doesn't deliver on promised goods

"We just wanted to make sure we got there in a timely fashion to get our money back," Zibolski said.

Vieau and Zibolski were told it will take a few days for their refund to appear on their credit card. If it doesn't, they can file a dispute with their credit card company.

"We were just hoping to get the appliances and have them do it for us, but in the end, it ended up being okay," Vieau said.

The BBB also says before buying, shop around a bit. Just because a store is having a closing sale doesn't mean you'll find things at their lowest price.

Also - don't expect top-notch customer service, because it will probably be busy.

Finally - don't forget to haggle. It never hurts to ask when something is being sold as-is.

American TV & Appliance says it has 11 retail stores, including seven in Wisconsin, two in Illinois and two in Iowa.

Milwaukee-area locations include:

Brown Deer: 6700 W. Brown Deer Road

Oak Creek: 9191 South 13th Street

Waukesha: W229N1400 Westwood Drive

CLICK HERE to visit American TV & Appliance's website.

CLICK HERE to visit the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau's website.


  • Tim W

    Went to American today, the majority of folks there had no problem talking to each other about how rediculous the prices were. Way to high after the discount. I noticed a few times when a deal was found the salesperson would say it was not the correct tag on the item and then replace the tag. A group interested in a piece of furniture for $368 which seemed like a possible deal all walked from the deal after the sales clerk corrected the price to $1699. Not worth the gas spent to go there. There prices are never that high!

    • Shiggy Diggy

      giant liquidations like this are handled by 3rd parties.. their job is to get as much $$ as possible.. so they took a day or two off to change all the tags to make it look like you’re getting a good deal but in reality it’s typical retail pricing.. the best time to try to haggle is on the last day(s) of the liquidation sale but showing up early on the first day is a waste of time.. also this happened under obammy’s watch

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