BBB Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season

November 21, 2008

One week from today, hard-core shoppers will hit the stores for “Black Friday.” The day after Thanksgiving traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. For shoppers, it can be exciting…and stressful! BBB advises, when shopping during the holiday season, consider the following:

  • Plan ahead. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for. This helps you to avoid buying on impulse.
  • Compare prices and shop carefully. Holiday “sales” and “markdowns” sometimes aren’t the bargains they appear to be. Read advertisements to compare prices for the same or similar merchandise to determine whether a holiday sale price is really a bargain.
  • Before making a purchase, ask the merchant about its refund and exchange policy. A store is not obligated to accept items for refund, exchange, or credit unless the item is defective or was misrepresented.
  • Be well informed about your rights when placing orders through catalogs, mail order, TV shopping networks, or online venues. Ask about delivery times, delivery costs, and how returns are handled. Check the company’s reliability report with the Better Business Bureau at
  • Buy appropriate toys for children. Keep in mind the child’s age and abilities. Use the age guidelines on toy packages.
  • Be on your guard at all times when shopping. Never leave your wallet, credit card or purse on the counter or in your cart. Do not get overloaded with packages. Shop with a friend or ask a security guard to escort you to your car.

For more holiday shopping tips, go to or call