Don’t get burned buying expensive items at local festivals

  
     
November 08, 2017

Aside from jambalaya, T-shirts, and craft booths, larger vendors set up shop at local festivals to offer higher priced merchandise such as homemade wooden furniture, larger decorative art pieces and even special cookware to prepare Cajun dishes. Some items can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana recommends consumers avoid making snap buying decisions without being prepared.

          Fairs offer many tantalizing treats, hours of music and entertainment as well as big ticket items, however, there can be problems when consumers sign a contract or put down a deposit on impulse. Consumers should be even more prepared than usual because of the environment and its many distractions.

          Some big ticket vendors are local, while others travel the festival circuit around Louisiana and even the Gulf Coast region. They may offer some items at clearance prices or show their newest merchandise. While most vendors are ethical, consumers are advised to watch out for the warning signs of high pressure sales tactics, such as a "today only" discount.

Without doing research in advance, there is no way of measuring what constitutes that discount or with whom you are dealing. This is important because potential problems may include product defects, warranty issues, problems with delivery, payment and difficulty contacting the seller.

          BBB offers the following tips when making large festival purchases:

  • Prepare yourself before going to the fairgrounds. Check festival websites or programs for vendors' lists. Research a seller on the spot by checking their business review at bbb.org on your smart device to make sure they are legitimate and find out what other consumers' experiences have been.
  • Take your time. A seasoned, ethical vendor will give you the time you need to consider making a purchase. 
  • Get complete contact information. It could be difficult to resolve a problem if the vender is located out of state. If they are travelling the fair circuit, you might want to consider purchasing locally instead.
  • Get all verbal promises in writing. This would include lifetime warranties on any offered goods and services. 
  • Know your rights. If you get buyer's remorse, the federal Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel a sale made at a seller's temporary location, such as a hotel or motel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant. It also applies when you invite a salesperson to make a presentation in your home.

BBB of Acadiana serves the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

Sharane Gott is the President/CEO of the BBB of Acadiana.

The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.