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Don’t let your child’s senior celebrations leave you with bad memories
April 29, 2013

BBB tips for prom and graduation preparations

AUSTIN, Texas As the school year ends, the festivities begin. From graduation get-ups to prom preparations, the expenses can quickly add up for parents.

Graduation can be a year-long expenditure; from invitations and photos to caps and gowns. A senior prom, however, can quickly add to a pricey last-minute event. A new survey from Visa, Inc indicated the average American family plans to spend $1,139 on prom this year, a 5 percent increase from 2012.

Limousines are among the most popular expenses for both festivities. Last year, Better Business Bureau received over 1,700 complaints nationwide regarding limousine services. Most complaints alleged the limo failed to arrive on time, or at all. Other complaints allege consumers had trouble receiving requested refunds.

Besides limo service, there are many other vendors involved in senior celebrations. BBB has advice for parents and their kids who are preparing for prom or graduation;

  • Prom Tickets – Tickets should be purchased directly from the school or official ticket seller rather than third parties to avoid receiving a counterfeit ticket.

  • Dresses – The average price fora prom dress or tuxedo can range, but a designer outfit can easily add to any price tag. If your child wants to wear a designer outfit, buy from a reputable retailer. Be cautious of online merchants. What seems like a great deal online may be a counterfeit.

  • Beauty Services – If your child wants an overall makeover keep in mind other students may want one as well. Schedule appointments as far in advance as possible.

  • Limousines – Depending on the type of vehicle and the number of hours needed, parents should make sure they have a written contract that includes the hours of service, required fees including gratuities and maximum capacity allowed.

  • Dinners – The key to preventing a disaster when the bill arrives is advance preparation. Review menus online,make reservations, and determine the payment method and gratuities beforehand.Some restaurants will not split checks for large groups and can charge a higher gratuity for a large party.

  • Flowers – Flowers for prom can range from a simple corsage or boutonniere to a bouquet of roses. If you are ordering flowers, make sure you use a reliable florist and have a written order that spells out delivery times and specific flower types.

  • Photography – If you’re hiring a professional photographer, make sure you have a written contract so that you understand what is included.

Parents can check out business reviews for florists, photographers, limousine companies, retailers and salons online at bbb.org.