In the August 1999 issue of Consumer Reports, the article entitled "Buying A Rug" is one of the most informative and objective pieces written on the subject of Oriental rugs. This article is a must read for anyone interesting in purchasing an Oriental rug or in additional information.
Buyer Beware . . .
Various ploys are used to create a sense of urgency on the part of the consumer, such as a "liquidation to satisfy bank lien." Generally held in hotels, these rugs are on consignment from wholesalers that have not been able to sell them to regular customers because of their inferior quality. These auctions are a good way to turn "dead" inventory into profit. However, there are no bargains to be had there.
Going Out of Business Sales
A "Going Out of Business" sale is another marketing tool. These "sales" can go on for months or years and are intended to create a sense of urgency among customers to buy now. And, as in the itinerant auction, there are seldom any bargains to be had.
Retailers cannot afford to sell rugs for less than cost and expect to stay in business and make a profit. There are times that a dealer will have a sale to move old inventory, but beware of those that consistently advertise 75%-85% off retail.
"Painting" refers to rugs that have been "cosmetically enhanced" by applying color to the foundation of the rug where it is worn. "Painting" is done to cover or conceal wear on older rugs, often without the buyer's knowledge. Painting is far less expensive than re-knotting a rug, is usually not colorfast, and is an expedient way to make a worn rug look better than it actually is. When buying an older rug, test for "painting" by applying water to a white towel and rubbing any suspicious looking worn areas. If color transfers to the towel, the rug has been "painted." Never buy "painted" rugs as they will wear quickly and cannot be cleaned without the "paint" bleeding all over the rug.