It keeps happening again and again and again. Customers put deposits down at furniture stores or appliance retailers and wind up getting burned when the stores go out of business before delivering their purchase. I have key guidance to help you avoid this scenario.

One of the side-effects of the housing slump has been devastation for furniture and appliance retailers. Sales in both industries are so closely tied to the housing market. Since houses aren't really selling, neither are furniture or appliances.

As a result, both furniture and appliance stores are closing their doors all over America. I read recently in The Orange County Register that a longtime furniture chain that had been around for decades just up and went bust overnight, leaving a lot of customers who left money on deposit high and dry. Likewise, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the same thing happened with a local appliance chain.

Too often when a furniture or appliance retailer gets in trouble, they start using the money you pay on deposit to keep the doors open instead of ordering what you paid them for. So here are some simple rules to follow when you're making a purchase:

  • When you buy furniture or appliances, buy only what you can see and haul away in your vehicle. 
  • If you're leaving a deposit, pay only by credit card.
  • Never pay a deposit on debit card, check or cash. If you do so, you have no rights at all should a retailer go bust.
  • If you do not have your delivery within 50 days, put the credit card charge in dispute. You lose all right to any dispute after the 60th day.
  • If your furniture or appliance later shows up, just release the dispute with your credit card company.


Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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