As the 2012 holiday shopping season ramps up, many retailers already are offering great deals like matching online prices and attractive layaway plans. Before you head out the door in search of the best deal, BBB offers the following tips to help you save time and money.
“BBB’s past experience tells us that not all deals are created equal,” states Michael Coil, President/CEO of BBB serving Northern Indiana. “Being an informed consumer will help you have the best shopping experience for your money.”
For this holiday season, some major retailers have announced deals pledging to offer the same pricing in stores as major online competitors. This presents great savings opportunities for consumers that take the time to look for the best deals.
BBB recommends that consumers make sure they fully understand a retailer’s online price matching policy, including:
Know which online competitors apply to the price-matching program. The retailers offering online price matching may only take into account the pricing of specific online competitors.
What are the dates that the price-matching program is in effect? For example, one retailer ends its program December 16th, while another excludes sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
What happens if you already purchased an item, but find the price lower afterwards? Some retailers will honor the price if presented within a certain amount of time following the sale.
Can you use coupons in conjunction with price matching?
- What is required from you to present to the retailer for the price to be matched?
In addition to online price matching, this year several retailers rolled out their layaway plans for the holidays a month earlier than last year. Some are even offering additional incentives to use the layaway option, such as cutting fees and increasing the number of items eligible for layaway.
When buying items on layaway, BBB advises consumers to carefully read the plan’s terms and conditions, specifically:
- How much time do you have to pay off the item?
- When are the payments due?
- How much do you have to put down?
- Are there any storage or service plan fees?
- What happens if you miss a payment? Are there penalties? Does the item return to inventory?
- Can you get a refund or store credit if you no longer want the item after making a few payments?
- What happens if the item goes on sale after you’ve put it on layaway?
- If the retailer offers a third-party layaway plan, know who you are doing business with. Make an informed decision by checking the business out on www.bbb.org.
For advise on holiday shopping, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit www.bbb.org.