25 Clearance Outlets that could save you ££' sss
Now we all love a bargain, and these days looking for deals is more of a necessity than a 'would be nice' scenario, and with that thought in mind, my recent purchase from a well-known retailers clearance centre, which saved me 45% off the cost of the same product that I could still find in the retailers retail stores, purely because the item's packaging wasn't in the best condition, (I don't care about packaging, I threw it away within 5 minutes of the order arriving!), got me thinking about if clearance outlets/stores are the way forward.
So why would the brands reduce their products, you may well be wondering? Well, the majority of products are going to be clearance products, so end of line products that the companies want to get out of their warehouses, generally because they have newer models coming in or the products haven't been as popular as they would have liked and so want to clear them through, or it could be they have overstocked a product.
Overstocks can be pretty common, and great examples of this can be clothing retailers who have stocked a particular range, to find something has meant that they aren't as popular as they expected. Perhaps they bought loads of Summer clothes, such as t-shirts, shorts and swimwear, then find it's the coldest summer on record, and they haven't sold anything like the number of summery ranges they had hoped for, meaning they need to clear them asap!
Many clothing retailers were forced to close during the first lockdown for many weeks. Once they were able to re-open, they had racks of clothes that were no longer needed as the seasons had changed, and so it was discounts galore, so they cleared them through, and the clearance outlets were one of the ways they did this.
You may find that the clearance outlets are offering excess stock, but equally, often, the stores will have customer returns that aren't faulty or badly damaged but can't be sold as pristine, so these will be offered at a reduced cost to clear them through.
You might also find ex-demonstration or ex-display products that again aren't classed as pristine because they may have minor scratches, scrapes or blemishes, which means the retailer needs to reduce to clear.
You might also come across re-conditioned or refurbished products for sale. These are normally products that have been returned to the retailer due to a fault but have been found to be not faulty and so have been cleaned up and offered for sale.
I used to work for Curry's, the electrical retailer. We were constantly having products returned due to a 'fault', which were then sent back to the retailer's returns division but were found not to be faulty at all; they just weren't being used correctly, so they couldn't be sent back to the manufacturer for credit, and so were sent back to the stores to be sold.
Vacuum cleaners were a popular return; the number of people, who returned a vacuum cleaner after a couple of months because it was no longer sucking up very well, was very large, especially the more prominent brands such as Dyson when they first came out and the problem was that the customer had no idea that the cleaners had filters installed, that needed to be cleaned out every few weeks, otherwise they would clog up, and the suction would decrease, and so I spent many a day cleaning out filters for a customer and refusing a return/refund as they just needed a clean!
The refurbished term may also mean that the product has had come back with no packaging, or may have been supplied with no packaging, and have been re-packaged by the retailer, in non-original packaging, to sell the products and again were discounted down for that reason.
Equally, some products are items that did have a fault but were minor and so have been repaired and are sold, often with a shorter guarantee than a brand new product, but at a discounted rate.
There are so many online retailers offering branded clearance products, and trying to list them all would mean this post was going to be around a million pages long, and you never really know how genuine a product is when buying from a retailer specialising in clearance products, so I had a look at what the big brands were offering through their own dedicated clearance outlets, and came up with a 'Top 25' list of brands which have genuine savings, on their products.
Some retailers have their own online stores to clear through products. Still, many have gone down the eBay selling route, allowing them to sell off their clearance products without the considerable costs of having to set up their own e-commerce solution, plus the benefit that the number of potential customers scrawling through eBay is massively higher than the number of website visitors they could ever hope to achieve visiting their own stores, especially when most visitors to eBay are there looking for a bargain, and so are on the lookout for a good deal anyway!
Here are my Top 25 retailers for grabbing a deal. There are, of course, many more, but these are well-known brands, all offering savings of up to 80%, making them well worth a browse when looking for a bargain!
eBay Refurbished - Various brands that have been refurbished or have slight imperfections, which may simply be damaged packaging
Amazon Warehouse Deals - Amazon customer returns refurbished products, products with imperfections such as damaged packaging or products without packaging.
Do I still have the same legal rights as something purchased brand new if I buy something clearance?
Here is what Citizens Advice say:
It doesn't matter whether you bought the item new or secondhand - you'll still have rights.
You’ll have legal rights if the item you bought is:
broken or damaged (not of satisfactory quality)
unusable (‘not fit for purpose’)
not what was advertised or didn’t match the seller’s description
You won’t have any legal rights if either:
it was damaged by wear and tear, an accident or misuse
you knew about the fault before you bought the item
You don’t have an automatic right to get your money back if you just change your mind about something you’ve bought and there’s nothing wrong with it.
No matter how expensive the item was - it’s really down to the seller whether they offer you anything.
You can take certain steps depending on where you bought the item.
If you think there’s a problem with the item, you might have different rights.
You automatically get a 14-day ‘cooling-off period’ when you buy something you haven’t seen in person - unless it’s bespoke or made to measure.
The cooling-off period starts the day after you receive your order, and there doesn’t need to be anything wrong with the item for you to get a refund.
You won’t get a cooling-off period when you buy:
something that deteriorates quickly - like flowers or food
an item that was personalised or custom-made for you
anything from a private individual rather than a business
a CD, DVD or software, if you break the seal on the wrapping
If you paid for standard delivery when you bought something, the seller has to refund this if you return it. If you chose a more expensive delivery option, you'd have to pay the difference.
Use your cooling-off period.
You need to tell the seller you don’t want the item within 14 days of receiving it. Once you’ve told the seller, you’ve got another 14 days to actually send the item back.
You could also phone - but make sure you note who you speak to and what was agreed. It’s a good idea to follow up with a letter or email.
Sellers must give you certain information when you buy something without seeing it in person. This includes their business address and phone number and details of your right to cancel. If you didn’t get this in writing (they’re allowed to send it by email), then your cooling off period increases even further, to a year and 14 days.
Most sellers give instructions on how to return items and often include returns labels with your order. After telling the seller, you usually have 14 days to return the item - check your terms and conditions for how long you have.
You may have to pay the cost of posting something back to the seller. The seller should have told you who has to pay for this when you bought the item. For example, it could have been in the terms and conditions. If they didn’t tell you, they would have to refund your postage costs.
You don't have to return the item in its original packaging, but you do need to make sure it’s packaged in a way that means it doesn’t get damaged. Sellers can ask you to pay if something gets damaged because it wasn’t packaged properly. The seller can also ask you to pay (or reduce your refund) if you’ve reduced the item's value, e.g. if you wore shoes outside and scuffed the soles - but they can only do this if it’s in the terms and conditions. (Often, it's precisely this policy that is the reason why retailers have clearance to sell to start with!)
If your contract says you must use the original packaging, this is likely to be considered an ‘unfair contract term’. You can tell the seller this and see if they agree to accept the return without the original packaging. If you purchased a clearance item with no pristine packaging, this is unlikely to cause you any problems, as it wasn't supplied with pristine packaging to start with!
If you have issues, especially with eBay purchases, you can speak to eBay for extra assistance, and they do tend to be very much on the customer's side in most cases! Legal information correct as of 25th May 2022