Halloween parties, trick or treating and other ghostly events this time of year bring many consumers to pop-up and online costume shops to help them look the part. Many Halloween-themed stores take advantage of short-term leases, setting up for just a few weeks during this short but busy season. Prevent your Halloween shopping experiences from turning into a nightmare with tips from Better Business Bureau of Central New England.
“With any shopping experience, check out the companies BBB Business Review before making a purchase,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “When shopping from a pop-up, or temporary, business you may be limited with return and refund options, so it is important to be aware of their policies and how long they will be in operation.” These tips can help guide your purchase decision this Halloween season:
Check out the companies BBB Business Review for a background on their complaints, customer reviews, accreditation status and other helpful information. Unscrupulous companies may change their name from year to year to try to hide from a poor track record. If you can’t a BBB Business Review or other reliable background information on the company, ask an employee how long the store will be in operation and what the details of their refund/exchange policy.
Inquire about policies – Seasonal stores have the same responsibilities as those who serve shoppers year round; they must display their refund and return policies prominently. Read the fine print and be aware of the terms and conditions of your purchase. Some stores may have time limits for returns and may not allow refunds on costumes. Others may only provide store credit for returns.
Keep documentation – Make your purchases by credit card. If something goes wrong, you may be able to dispute the charges. Save your receipts! The refund and exchange policy should be listed there. It is better to have policies in writing and the receipt is often needed to make a return.
Online shopping safety –When buying online, do it securely. Check a site’s security settings. The web address should begin with “https://.” Only provide your credit card number online on a secure site. Make sure to read the terms and conditions and know the return policy for costumes purchased on a website.