HOLIDAY SHOPPING TIPS FOR CONSUMERS
December 17th, 2015 – During the holiday season, hurried shoppers are more likely to shop incautiously and impulsively, making them more susceptible to scams, misleading advertising or simply not understanding the terms of their purchases. Advertisements that encourage consumers to “act now” for a great deal can lead to purchases that consumers later regret, especially when the terms and conditions are complex and in fine print.
“Consumers want to take advantage of great deals that can save them money this season,” commented Commissioner Harris. “Our advice is that it’s okay to look for a good deal, but always take a step back to read the fine print before making any purchase in the store or online.”
Useful tips for those who are doing some last minute shopping this week are:
- Always read the fine print. There is a lot of reading involved in good shopping. You should make sure you understand all terms and conditions of purchases, store warranties, rebate offers, layaway contracts, and fine print on coupons before making a purchase. If there is something you need clarified, always ask questions.
- Always price check. If you see products advertised with a significant price cut, don’t be afraid to compare prices. Sometimes stores will inflate the original price to make it look like you’re getting a really good deal when that may not be the case.
- Know the return policy. In particular if you’re giving a gift, make sure you’re clear on the return policies, especially if you’re purchasing something online and a return may include shipping costs.
- Understand what shipping may add to the cost. If you’re purchasing something that needs shipping, check out whether the shipping cost makes the item more expensive than the same product somewhere else. Many places with free shipping have items that appear more expensive, but you may actually be saving by not paying other company’s shipping fees.
- Understand advertisements about small quantities. If an advertisement says “limited quantities are available,” be aware that any item advertised in this way may not be available, even if you get to the store early. It is a well-used incentive to get people into the store with the hope they will purchase something else when they find out what they wanted was not in stock.
- Keep your information safe. If you’re shopping online, make sure to only give your information to a trusted and verified source. Also, be sure to double check deals you might get by email or text, as this is a time of year more deals are available and scammers may try to take advantage of the situation if they think your defenses are down.
Lora Rae Anderson
Lora Rae Anderson