If you don't know rugs, know your Rug Dealer!
Buying an Area Rug can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience as long as you are dealing with a reputable dealer. A reputable dealer should spend time teaching you about Area Rugs before you make your purchase.
A reputable dealer will also disclose their terms and conditions before the sale. For example, a rug should be fully returnable and refundable, no questions asked, within a reasonable period of time (2 weeks) provided that it is in the original condition in which it was purchased. Some dealers will even permit you to try a rug in your home, allowing the rug to sell itself.
How To Find a Reputable Dealer
If you are in the market for an Area Rug, we would suggest asking friends and family about Area Rug dealers they may have bought from.
To establish the legitimacy of an Area Rug dealer, you may want to contact "ORRA" (Area Rug Retailer Association) to see if they are a member. ORRA has an established code of ethics and policies that a retailer must abide by which protects the buyer's best interests. ORRA, Inc. headquarters can be contacted at PO Box 1643, Gordonsville, VA 22942.
For tips to avoid sales scams and deceptive tactics, read below.
When purchasing via mail order or e-commerce, purchasing terms should be the same as above. Be aware that some dealers have restocking charges on any returns.
You might also consider purchasing an Area Rug from a legitimate estate auction. By legitimate we mean that an auction house, specializing in estate auctions, is conducting the sale. A legitimate auction should normally be held at the auctioneer's gallery or at a standard outside location. The auctioneer should have a high-standing reputation within their community.
Some words of caution when purchasing at an auction: you must check the rug's condition before placing a bid. If the auctioneer is knowledgeable about Area Rugs, ask as many questions as possible because all merchandise is sold "as is" and is not returnable. Remember that when you buy at an auction there is normally a buyer's fee added to the hammer price.
How To Avoid Rug Scams
Be careful of certain deceptive or gimmick advertising & selling tactics that have become a more common occurrence in the home furnishings industry. Do not be misled by advertisements that include words such as "Liquidation," "Remodeling," "GOB/Going Out of Business," "Closing Forever," "Lost Lease," "U.S Customs," "Bankruptcy," and "Moving Sale." Most of these type sales are bogus and misleading to the public.
There are rug dealers and wholesalers who specialize in GOB sales. They go from town to town conducting GOB sales. They stuff the dealer with new merchandise and in most instances they end up conducting the GOB sale. A normal sales practice is they advertise for several months that they are running a GOB sale. Then there is a countdown that the sale is going to end. Then they advertise that there is going to be an auction. An out of town auctioneer normally conducts this auction. The auctions are conducted normally over the weekend. They will continue the weekend auctions for several more weeks and sometime months. Buyers beware!
You also must be careful when attending a so-called U.S. Customs auction of seized merchandise. Do not be misled and think that you are buying from the U.S. Customs, unless Custom Agents are present at the sale. US Customs will conduct their own auctions and will use their federal seal in the advertisements.
You also must be very skeptical of Bankruptcy sales conducted from furniture stores. Most of the furniture stores in our region who have run this type of sale have never advertised before the sale, that they were in the Area Rug business. All of a sudden they are closing their business and advertising that they sell rugs. A fly by night Area Rug Liquidation Company will stuff the place with rugs and operate the sale and then conducts the weekend auctions.
There are certain State and Federal laws governing Bankruptcy and GOB sales. Consumers need to complain to there local, state or federal legislators if they have been misled or misinformed in their purchases at any of the above mentioned sales. If you have questions or comments on an Area Rug dealer you can also contact your Better Business Bureau or The Consumer Complaint Division of the Attorney General in your state.