Today you can purchase an oriental rug just about anywhere. You'll find them on sale online, at auctions, going out at business (GOB) sales, or even weekend motel sales, with all them advertising the opportunity to buy amazing rugs at great prices. So, is it true? Well, it's possible to find a great deal, but it's a longshot. And if you're not familiar with rug types and styles, your chances of finding a good deal are even lower.
Consider this: Would you buy an expensive piece of art from a GOB sale if you weren't familiar with the artist? Or would you buy an antique car if you're not a mechanic? Probably not, and if you did so, you'd have to realize that you're taking a gamble. The artwork could be a print, or the car could have series mechanical problems, and you wouldn't be able to tell. Rugs are no different. Obviously it's important to find a rug with a design you like, and you're more qualified than anyone to decide on that. But many things can be wrong with an auction rug. It could have moth infestation. There could be dye run. It could have quality issues such as being excessively crooked or having mismatched dyes. The rug may be represented as being much older than it really is. All of these things mean the same thing -- the rug isn't worth nearly as much as is being portrayed. So you may end up finding something you like, but you could have bought the same rug for much less at a reputable store. Or, you could have bought a rug that's much higher quality for the same price -- meaning that the rug will last much longer, and ultimately have much more value if you ever decide to sell it later.
One last consideration. Normally, GOB or auction sales are final. So if you decide later that you don't like the rug, or if you notice that the quality is bad, or it just plain doesn't work in your house, you're now stuck with a rug that you don't like and is worth much less than you paid for it. Ouch.
Compare that to buying at a reputable rug dealer. You'll be guaranteed to be get rugs that are fairly represented and fairly priced. The best option is to shop a store that allows you to take home the rug before buying. Now, you're sure to get both value and enjoyment from your new rug.
So if you're tempted to buy where the prices are "too good to be true", consider it carefully. Chances are, it is too good to be true.