BBB offers advice for finding the perfect gift for dad
With Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18, people are looking for the perfect gift to honor their dads. Whether it’s a tie, the latest tech gadget or a gift card, your Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas advises you to shop smart when you hit the stores. If you would rather avoid the weekend shopping crowd, many of the same retailers sell merchandise online.
According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2017 Father’s Day Spending Survey, Father’s Day spending is expected to reach a record-high: $15.5 billion. Up $1.2 billion from last year, total spending this year will be the “highest in the survey’s 15-year history.”
This Father’s Day, BBB advises consumers to take caution when shopping and ordering merchandise online. What you see online may not be what arrives (or doesn’t arrive at all) on your doorstep.
In 2016, BBB received more than 14,300 complaints against online retailers nationwide, and more than 1,200 complaints against brick and mortar retail stores. Most consumers reported issues with advertising and delivery.
When shopping for a gift for dad, BBB offers the following advice:
- Read customer reviews about a product or business before purchasing. BBB offers customer reviews on its BBB Business Profiles available at bbb.org. Customer reviews often say a lot about the product and the retailer and help give other customers a good idea of what to expect when the item is received. BBB recommends consumers read the whole description of the item and compare prices against other reputable websites that may offer the same item.
- Carefully read any fine print. Find out the terms for exchanging or returning a gift. When buying gifts, get refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee policies in writing. Make sure you know the expiration date of any offers and if a refund is available.
- Be careful when buying gift cards. Be careful when ordering a gift card from a website, such as an auction site or online classifieds, since it’s difficult to tell if it’s a used or stolen card. Try to purchase gift cards online directly from the retail website. If buying a gift card in-store, inspect the gift card before buying. Verify that protective stickers have not been removed and that the PIN number on the back of the card is not exposed. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
- Know the terms and conditions when purchasing gift cards or gift certificates. Check that the expiration date and any other conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for Internet shopping and not just for in-store use.
- Ask for gift receipts. Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item, or risk receiving an exchange at a lower price.
- Pay with a credit card. Try to always pay with a credit card when ordering online. A purchase with a credit card is protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This act protects consumers if credit card information is stolen and used without permission.