Retailers, consumers and prices
Overstock.com wants to bail you out
Online retailer Overstock.com is pitching a rescue package for shoppers who are neck-deep in debt.
The company’s “Family Bailout” contest will pay off up to $50,000 in debt belonging to the winner or a member of his or her immediate family. The money gets paid directly to “qualified” creditors like mortgage or credit card companies.
The retailer, which sells excess inventory of clothes, furniture and other items, automatically enters people in the contest when they make an order. People who are too broke to shop or those who want to have the company bail out a friend, can fill out an online form on the site.
“We’re sinking into the most challenging economic environment since the
Great Depression,” said Patrick Byrne, Overstock.com’s chairman and CEO. “This
is our way of lending a helping hand to those that need it.”
Overstock’s move is just the latest effort by a retailer to entice shoppers as the industry heads into what could be its most dismal holiday sales season since the early 1990s.
Amazon.com is already running ads touting deals for a limited time. Items on sale on Monday included a Nikon Coolpix 10-megapixel digital camera for $146.95 (a savings of $53, according to the website).
Online jeweler Blue Nile began offering a personalized shopping service to help find or order jewelry — a segment that has taken a painful blow from consumer cutbacks in the past few months. The company is betting good customer service is crucial to winning over consumers this holiday season.
The Internet shopping wars are on — may one lucky consumer win some credit relief.