This is kind of like that time I took a coupon from a chicken...
October 24, 2011 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I won a washing machine and dryer that I can't use, and it's turning into a bit of a nightmare. How on earth can I get rid of it? I live in Washington, DC. Special soap-bubble details inside.

About 9 months ago, I gave away my full biography while printing off a grocery coupon, which included a checkbox indicating that I'd like to be entered into a drawing to win a washing machine and year's supply of laundry detergent. After all, why not? Here's why:

Lo and behold, about a month ago, I was contacted by the prize company informing me that I'd won the prize. After confirming that everything was legitimate, I gave my information to the fulfillment company, specifically mentioning that I live in a small apartment, and could only accept the prize if the machines were compact and stackable, and they acknowledged my concern, and told me that they'd relay that information to the vendor.

After that, I heard nothing more until last Friday, when a truck showed up at my house to deliver a gigantic non-stackable washer and dryer. Shit.

Against my better judgement, I accepted the delivery.

Given that the prize vendor, ePrize, is basically impossible to contact, I'm assuming I'm stuck with these things, and want to get rid of the gigantic, heavy crates that are currently occupying about a third of my apartment's floor space, before my roommate kills me:
  • Ideally, I'd like to sell these things, and attempt to recover as much money as possible. Ironically, I need a new washing machine. Also, I'm on the hook for paying income tax on this "prize," and at least need to minimize my losses. (So, no leaving it out on the curb)
  • Posting to Craigslist for 25% below the list price (about 50% below MSRP) has yielded no hits thus far (not even scammers!). I don't think that Craigslist is the right channel for selling a new, high-end appliance, and for some reason, my post doesn't seem to be showing up in search results. Transportation could also be an issue.
  • Are there people who buy used appliances who would give me a fair price for a brand-new, and unused appliance?
  • Are there any charities who could take this off of my hands? Would this allow me to escape the tax burden of the prize winnings without forcing me to give up the standard deduction?
Specific advice appropriate to the Washington, DC area would be appreciated, and apologies for the long backstory!
posted by schmod to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This might be a good question to ask Prince of Petworth. I personally have no idea, sadly.
posted by General Malaise at 2:57 PM on October 24, 2011

Do you have any friends or family who would appreciate new high-end appliances in exchange for paying the tax you will owe? Co-workers?
posted by gyusan at 3:00 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Your craigslist posting sounds like an ad. Post what you posted here.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:08 PM on October 24, 2011

If you want to go the donation route, I have donated furniture and household goods in the past to A Wider Circle and I would recommend them. I don't know if they specifically need washers and dryers, but if they don't I bet they could point you to a similar charity that does take them if they can't.
posted by bbq_ribs at 3:08 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, saying the location is "United States" on CL is going to raise red flags for people - too many scams on CL involving shipping things to weird places. Specify where you are at in DC and post again.
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:14 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Short specific-to-you answer - I think I can help you out of this. We can talk details directly; memail me.

Longer answer - you're pretty well screwed with this precise situation if you don't itemize. IRS topic 506 says "Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A."

For appliance donations Habitat's ReStore is a good source. They'll come pick stuff up and you don't even need to be present. Donations for this kind of thing are supposed to be actual market value so you can't just claim the original purchase price of an old item, but I think you'd be on pretty firm ground with a new-in-box item and the price it was assigned on the W-2G (I think that's the form).
posted by phearlez at 3:17 PM on October 24, 2011

Ebay? List it for less than the recommended retail price, explain that it's a prize you can't use, and specify pickup-only.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:17 PM on October 24, 2011

Quick Binging shows that I can buy these, new from retailers, for less than you're asking. If you, as some dude on Craigslist, want to unload them, you need to adjust your price downward, and likely significantly. MSRP means nothing.
posted by sageleaf at 3:28 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

As far as I know I don't have any local friends, family members, or coworkers who are in need of laundry appliances.

I'll try rewriting the CL posting to be less ad-like. That's a good point. Already fixed the location (no idea how I missed that initially). This situation is odd enough that I was a bit embarrassed to talk about it openly at first, and my predicament really does sound like the world's worst 419 scam...

Habitat's not a bad option, and I honestly hadn't even thought of them. I know about places like ReStore and The Community Forklift, but hadn't really considered them appropriate for selling a new appliance. Similarly, there are a bunch of used appliance stores in Arlington and PG County that also only seem to sell really old stuff.

Surprisingly, there's not much of a market for used appliances that haven't been used.

Thanks for the tips so far; you guys are awesome! I still haven't decided if I'm going to go down the donation route, but if anyone else knows of any other DC area charities that might be receptive to this sort of donation, feel free to pass the names along, in case the options already presented don't work out (Google has been strangely unhelpful in this department).
posted by schmod at 3:29 PM on October 24, 2011

Yeah, re-check your prices... these are listed for about $750 each on Amazon & Home Depot... Do you mean to be listing these at 50% off MSRP like you say you are? Because you're not -- $750 is not 50% of $950 -- and you're listing them at roughly 100% of list. You definitely need to re-think your prices.
posted by brainmouse at 3:35 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Include the information in the craigs list ad that you won these in a contest, but they're too big for your apartment so you need to unload them, and that you can provide all the information proving that if they're interested (so they don't think they're getting stolen merch or anything like that).
posted by empath at 3:38 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actually, just post a link to this thread telling the story if they're interested in the background :)
posted by empath at 3:40 PM on October 24, 2011

When needing to sell barely used appliances (just under a year old) in a not-similar situation, I was only able to sell the appliances at about 40-50% of list price. I think you may have to drop your price. There is a surprisingly large appliance market from foreclosed homes, which drives prices down.
posted by saeculorum at 3:42 PM on October 24, 2011

I don't know how much help this is but here's the link to contact eprize. Click on Customer service question.
posted by stray thoughts at 3:43 PM on October 24, 2011

Sears lists them at just under $700 and will deliver them for around $30, according to Google Shopper.

Not everyone applies this metric but personally I won't pay more than 50% of what I could pay for something new when I am buying things off ebay/craigslist. I'm assuming a risk I don't have with a store purchase - no returns, no credit card chargeback protection - and usually not getting warranty coverage.

You may be able to overcome the warranty issue if you have some supporting paperwork you can show or if the Maytag website will show coverage based on the serial number or something. But you're going to have to overcome the fact that you're asking someone to handle the delivery etc and pay cash rather than use a CC & get extended financing or whatever other perks they'd get from the store.
posted by phearlez at 3:43 PM on October 24, 2011

If you need a washing machine, see if you can call a local dealer that sells these who can do a trade. Maybe something like M&M appliance.

They'll probably say no, but it might be worth a phone call.
posted by empath at 3:44 PM on October 24, 2011

You've probably heard a new car loses some huge amount of value the minute it's driven off the lot, right? You have the same problem: the appliances, brand-new and unopened, are no longer on the lot. If you're pricing them in-line with, or even higher than, retailers like Sears you're pricing them way too high.
posted by 6550 at 4:02 PM on October 24, 2011

E-Prize isn't that hard to contact --try their Detroit HQ.

One ePrize Drive
Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069
Directions to Office
Main: (248) 543-6800
Fax: (248) 543-3777

Gary Shuman
Managing Director, East
Phone: (248) 543.7515

Darlene Morris
Business Manager
Phone: (248) 543-7403

Jen Gray
Vice President, Marketing & Creative Services
Phone: (248) 336-2725
posted by Ideefixe at 4:06 PM on October 24, 2011

Can you deliver the units (or at least help)? I sold a used washer/dryer set quickly and for a good price on Craigslist DC--I gathered that my willingness to help move it made a big difference.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:15 PM on October 24, 2011

Also, make sure you include pictures of your actual washer and dryer (or in this case the boxes they're sitting in since you don't want to open them and unpackage them). That is always way more reassuring to buyers, that these are real items that someone actually has, rather than ads using stock manufacturer's photos.

And a phone number doesn't hurt. Some percentage of potential buyers simply will not email.
posted by 6550 at 4:18 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know what this reminds me of! I won a Tivo, then sold it on ebay. I ended up getting just about half of the market value of a store-bought unit. I literally never opened the box, but I was a brand-new seller, and I think that affected my price. Telling the backstory helped, too--I mean, it's natural to be curious about why someone would be selling an item that is, truly, new, and in the box.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2011

Good Will would take it. If you called them I bet there'd be a truck there the very next day.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:49 PM on October 24, 2011

Sell them for whatever the taxes will cost you? Make someone's day, sell them for 200 dollars for the pair.
posted by roboton666 at 6:46 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, the reason you aren't getting any bites is because your prices are way too high. Not only is a buyer not saving any money by purchasing from you, but they also have to arrange pick up, delivery and installation, can't return the items, and don't get any warranty. They also aren't guaranteed the authenticity of the items. What you're offering is not a good deal.

Treat these as though they were used items in mint condition and price accordingly. That is the angle a buyer has to go at this.
posted by Polychrome at 3:21 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you contact the local dealer for that brand? Ask them if they'd be willing to work out a trade.
posted by bendy at 12:41 AM on October 26, 2011

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