Vancouver, BC – November 27, 2013 - After the US Thanksgiving many consumers start hunting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumer Protection BC are advising consumers to be aware that all deals may not be created equal and to read the fine print. So before you head out the door or buy online for an unbelievable deal, consider the following tips:
Tip 1 – Prepare yourself
This week many retailers will promote their Black Friday deals both online and through print ads. Research where the sales are and make a list of your gift priorities to compare prices and plan your day of deals. It’s best to ring any ads with you just in case the price is not what you expected. If you are shopping online for Cyber Monday deals, do your homework in advance on the websites you plan on buying from.
Tip 2 – Shop with trust.
Don’t jump at the first deal you see. Research the business – know how long they’ve been in business, look into their customer service track record, and check them out at www.mbc.bbb.org. When shopping online, make sure the website you shop from is safe. If the site is secure, its web address should start with “https://.” You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
Tip 3 – Know the return and exchange policies.
All bets can change for Black Friday deals which means the store policies can change too. Make sure you know what the return and exchange policy is for your Black Friday special and whether a return is even possible. Final sales, a very short return window (like before December 25th) or in-store/online only credit could leave you with a deal gone wrong. Additionally, when shopping online, look for shipping fees which may be free with purchase, but not free on returns.
Tip 4 – Read the fine print
When buying online, find out what currency you are paying in, American or Canadian dollars? If you are ordering from the United States you may also have to pay duty on items. If you are shopping for Christmas gifts, check the delivery dates as retailers get very busy this time of year and it could take weeks to receive your item. Finding out all the details helps you make an informed decision.
Tip 5 – Be on the lookout for fake social media promotions.
Be cautious of online ads or e-mails that look like they come from famous retailers. Often, these ads lead to non-reputable sites that will waste time and money, or may install malicious software. Go directly to an online retailer’s website to find their legitimate promotion or social media page. Also, watch out for Facebook surveys that offer free prizes (often new gaming consoles). No “free” quiz or survey should ask for your credit card number.
Consumer Protection BC:
If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer in British Columbia, please contact Consumer Protection BC toll free at 1-888-564-9963, or go to: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca. You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips.
For more BBB tips you can trust, visit www.mbc.bbb.org and for the latest, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.