What's The Deal: Shopping smarter at outlet malls to score big deals

Outlet malls can offer some great deals.

But our friends at Money Talks News say you don't always get what you pay for, and just because it's an outlet doesn't mean it's automatically a deal.

Here's a guide to getting the best deal.

As we head into the holiday shopping season, outlet malls can offer great one-stop shopping and the deals are billed as deep discounts.

Many slash prices on high-end retail because the clothes and accessories are off-season or less-than-perfect.

Millions of people say they drive long distances every year to bargain hunt at outlet malls. But that doesn't mean that everything there is a bargain.

For example, did you know that some retailers admit that they produce lower-quality items made exclusively to sell in outlet stores?

Another trick? Money Talks News says stores have used fake prices to make merchandise seem a better deal that it is. There have been a ton of lawsuits in recent years over this phantom pricing.

Now, of course this isn't true of every chain, nor is it true of every item in the store, but it can happen.

Your best plan is to be a smarter outlet shopper.

First, ask about quality. Outlet mall staff might tell you if the item you're eyeing is made specifically made for outlet malls.

Also, 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.

Do a little research! Make sure you know what the actual retail price is: don't rely on what they SAY the suggested retail price is.

If it's maximum savings you're there for, START with the clearance racks. Sometimes that's where you can really score the big savings, even if the items are less than perfect.

For a full list of tips, visit Money Talks News here.
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