Denver, CO – October 23, 2012 – According to the National Retail Federation, record Halloween spending is expected to reach $8 billion, up from the expected $6.8 billion last year. Americans spend more on Halloween than any other holiday besides Christmas, and retailers respond to that with specialty stores that appear in October and vanish the minute Halloween is over.
When shopping at seasonal, temporary Halloween stores it’s important to exercise caution, especially if you’re shopping at the last minute. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising shoppers to know the red flags and read the fine print to avoid fly-by-night costume vendors. Even if the store has a returns policy, you should go in with the assumption that whatever you buy is yours to keep, no matter what.
“Regarding Halloween purchases, complaints about late delivery of online orders, poor quality and difficulty obtaining refunds are common at the BBB,” said Hope Marie Sneed, vice president of development and PR for the BBB of Denver/Boulder.
Here are some BBB tips to make sure your Halloween is free of “tricks.”
Do your research. Some seasonal stores are run by reputable retailers who are temporarily expanding for the season, but other shops may be only exist temporarily. Check them out as well as online stores before making purchases at www.denver.bbb.org. Note that some retailers change their name from one year to the next as a way of disguising a poor track record.
Read the fine print. A seasonal store has the same responsibilities as a year-round operation. The store’s refund and return policies must be made available. Be sure to read and understand them before making a purchase.
Know what to expect before renting a costume. When renting a costume, make sure you understand your responsibilities. What happens if, for example, the costume rips, you get a stain on it, or you lose it? Do you have to pay for the whole costume? What about cleaning? Make sure everything is spelled out in the rental agreement.
When purchasing costumes online, do it securely. Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://.” You also may see a small picture of a closed lock in the lower right corner of the screen.
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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 115 local, independent BBBs across the U. S. and Canada. Please visit www.denver.bbb.org for more information.