If you plan to purchase a Mother’s Day gift, be sure to read the “fine print” to prevent misunderstandings. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds consumers to be smart shoppers during this holiday.
“Mother’s Day is second only to Valentine’s Day for the purchase of flowers and other gifts and it’s important to be careful when making your gift choices,’’ says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “You always need to be sure all questions are answered about the product or service you’re purchasing before you make a decision.”
The BBB offers the following shopping tips for Mother’s Day gifts:
Gift Cards and Certificates: Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase to ensure that the expiration date and conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping and not just for in-store use. Make certain on a gift card that the security number hasn’t been revealed prior to purchase.
Electronics: Whether you plan to buy Mom a smartphone, laptop or other electronic device, be sure that you don't remove it from the box before wrapping it. Many electronics stores require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges.
Clothing or Handbags: If you are planning to purchase clothing or a handbag for Mom, make sure you get a gift receipt in case she needs to return the item.
Cosmetics: If you are interested in purchasing cosmetics or fragrance, speak to the store about their return policy and keep the receipt. If she tries the product and is not satisfied, know the store’s policy on the return of open items.
Guides, Tours and Classes: Yoga, wine tasting and cooking lessons are a fun way to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it’s important to get details about these classes and adventures in writing and in advance of the trip. Be sure to clarify all of the factors listed below:
· Are reservations required and if so, by when?
· What are the total costs and features?
· What services and equipment are included?
· Are taxes or any other charges added?
· Are there any restrictions or special time requirements?
· Are there any cancellation or refund penalties or policies?
The BBB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is supported by businesses to protect consumers against scams and other unethical business practices. The group accomplishes this by educating both consumers and businesses, and by highlighting trustworthy businesses. By developing reports and ratings on businesses and charitable organizations, the BBB encourages people to use these as resources and referrals to utilize the free services before making a purchase or donation. The BBB helps resolve buyer/seller complaints through its alternative dispute resolution process. In 2013, the BBB provided more than 22,600,000 instances of service. Over 80 percent of consumer complaints to the BBB were resolved. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is a member of the international BBB system that services the United States, Canada and Mexico.