BBB Tips for Making Purchases at the State Fair

August 20, 2014

Burnsville, Minnesota – August 19, 2014 – The Minnesota State Fair marks the unofficial end of summer. It’s also a prime opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and ideas to crowds of fairgoers. While it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and excitement the State Fair reliably delivers, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) reminds consumers – unless they’re on one of the rides – to keep both feet on the ground.

“We’re as excited about The Minnesota State Fair as anyone,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Still, we’re reminding people to keep things in perspective and make sure to do their due diligence when checking out merchandise and listening to sales pitches.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers who are considering making purchases at this year’s event:

  • Prior to making a purchase, get the company’s refund and exchange policy in writing.
  • Obtain the company’s physical location and telephone number in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.
  • As with any purchase, do some comparison shopping before buying. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.
  • Don’t be pressured to buy. After the demonstration or sales pitch, walk away from the sales associate to give yourself some time to think about the purchase. This will help you decide whether or not the item is necessary and a good deal.
  • Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the State Fair. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item on the spot.
  • It’s important to note that the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling-off rule,” which normally allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs:
    • Purchases under $25;
    • Goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family, or household purposes;
    • Insurance, securities, or real estate;
    • Motor vehicles; and
    • Arts and crafts.
  • If you are making a purchase where the “cooling-off rule” does apply, and you need to cancel a sale, sign and date a copy of the company’s cancellation form, which you should obtain upon purchase of the item. If you mail the form back to the company, be sure it is post-marked before midnight of the third business day after which you made the purchase. Sundays and federal holidays are not considered business days. Otherwise, bring the form in-person to the company within three days of the date you made the purchase.
  • BBB Business Reviews have been optimized for smartphones. You can research companies for free at, or by calling 1-800-646-6222.

BBB will once again be an exhibitor at the Minnesota State Fair, with a booth in the Education Building. The State Fair runs from August 21 to September 1.