Marlborough, MA - Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and some retailers have already announced some of their deals. Though more and more stores are opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday will remain one of the biggest shopping days of the year, both online and in stores. BBB offers advice for consumers who plan to shop on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday.
Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on November 29, Small Business Saturday can be a fun part of your holiday weekend. By staying local, you’ll support the small businesses that helped create the identity of your community. This annual event is a great way to show your support for these local shops.
As always, retailers will compete feverishly to get shoppers to visit their stores – and their websites! The National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday sales will increase by more than 4% this year. Whether you’ll be doing your holiday shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Small Business Saturday, be sure to keep these tips in mind to help ensure a satisfactory experience:
Know Where to Shop. Beware of pop-up shops that show up around the holidays, as these stores can disappear before you know it. Also, before you decide to purchase products online, visit bbb.org to check out a business. Make sure the website you’re browsing is reputable.
Make Sure it’s Secure. When making an online purchase, look for the SSL encryption. You can recognize it by the “s” in https:// of the URL or the lock symbol; both ensure that the information you’re about to give out is encrypted for your safety.
Always Use Credit. When shopping online and in stores, be sure to make purchases with your credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards give you significant protection against fraud, and even if your information falls into the wrong hands, you’ll be more likely to get all of your money back with your credit card company. If using a debit card, once the funds are drawn, they’re gone.
Use Caution with Gift Cards. Gift cards can be tricky purchases when bought online. Sometimes, gift cards purchased from a third-party seller can turn out to be used or missing the correct amount of funds. If you’re interested in buying a gift card, order it from a verified store or seller.
Read the Fine Print. Be sure to review all refund policies and warranty information. In the event that something goes wrong with your purchase, you’ll also want to have proof of your transaction. Save all receipts, email confirmations, or invoices you receive from retailers and if shopping online, be sure to screenshot the final confirmation screen as proof.
Stay Up-to-Date. When you’ve finished shopping both in store and online, you should remain vigilant. Stay updated on your accounts and statements, as well as any orders you completed online. Make sure only the charges you’ve approved appear on your statement, and if you see something suspicious, contact your financial institution.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org.