BBB Tips for Back to School Sales

August 15, 2011

Tyler, TX – August 15, 2011 - Summer is winding down, and that means students will soon be headed back to school.  While the task of back-to-school shopping can be overwhelming, BBB advises consumers not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. 

"It's important not to get carried away or try to rush through the shopping process," says Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Having a plan and knowing what questions to ask can save time and money.”

When shopping for anything from new attire to electronic items, BBB has these tips to help you be a savvy back-to-school shopper:

1. Ask about returns and refunds. Shopping for new clothes, accessories and gadgets is one of the highlights of going back to school. When buying new gear, ask the store about their return policy and always keep the receipts. Keep in mind some stores charge “restocking fees” - sometimes as high as 20 percent of the original cost. Make sure you know the policy before you buy.

2. Don’t be fooled by misleading “bargains.” Back-to-school sales may not be the bargains they appear to be. Read ads and coupons; conditions, timeframes and restrictions must be listed. If an offer is misrepresented, see the store manager.

3. Expensive items: Ask about the warranty. How long is it in effect and what does it cover? Weigh the pros and cons of an extended warranty plan.

4. Shop smart online. Find out the physical location and phone number of the merchant. Read the refund and return policy, have in writing any warranty or guaranty details, be familiar with delivery/shipping costs and time schedules, feel comfortable that the merchant is reliable and not the subject of an unusually large number of consumer complaints, check the privacy policies, and be sure that any information you submit to complete the sale transaction (credit card number, etc.) will be treated with the proper care.

5. Carefully check out businesses and deals before signing anything, before paying any money up front, and before releasing any personal or financial information (this includes your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, credit card, banking account number and other personal data). If unsure about a company, check out their report online at

If your child is in the market for a computer, BBB recommends doing your research:

· Determine what your child’s needs will be.

· What is the computer going to be used for? Word processing, graphic/web design, gaming?

· Determine what type of hardware and software will be required.

· Find out what you have to do if the computer breaks down.

· Check out the warranty on the computer.

· Call your school or university and ask what the school’s requirements are and what other students in the class use.

· Compare prices, and check out the companies with the BBB at

For more consumer information, go to

About BBB Serving Central East Texas

The BBB Serving Central East Texas is an unbiased non-profit 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, free BBB Business Reviews™ and charity BBB Wise Giving Reports™, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.

To further promote trust, the BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912 by advertising executives.  Today, 116 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit for more information.