Money Talks News: Are outlet stores a waste of time and money

Money Talks News - From off-season clothes and accessories to less-than-perfect items, and refurbished items, millions drive long distances every year to bargain-hunt at outlet malls. But that doesn't mean that everything is a bargain.

For example, some retailers produce lower-quality items made exclusively to sell in outlet stores. Another trick? Using fake prices to make merchandise seem a better deal than it is. There have been a several lawsuits in recent years over this phantom pricing.

Now, this isn't true of every chain, nor is it true of every item in the store, but it can happen. So what shoppers want is some tips to make them a smarter outlet shopper.

First, ask about quality. Outlet mall staff might say the item is made specifically for outlet malls. Look at the tags. Some say "Factory line".

And pay attention to detail. Check for differences in materials like cotton and wool. Know what you're looking for.

Make sure to know what the actual retail price is and not to rely on what staff say the suggested retail is.

And finally, remember to hit the computer before the mall. And of course, for maximum savings, head for the clearance racks.

An outlet mall can be a great place to find some savings, but so could stores closer to home. For more information and links to become a better outlet shopper, go to the Money Talks News website search for "Outlet Shopping."

© 2017 Money Talks News. All Rights Reserved.