Every fall, consumers have come to expect a flurry of pop-up stores and websites offering Halloween costumes and decorations at a discount. Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB)advises shoppers to check unfamiliar stores or websites out with BBB before making purchases.
“According to the National Retail Federation, more than 174 million people are expected to take part in Halloween this year and spend $9.1 billion doing so,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “That makes Halloween the second largest shopping season of the year and we want to make sure consumers are making the right decisions before deciding to buy from Halloween pop-up stores and websites.”
Nationally, BBB receives hundreds of complaints about costume stores and websites every year. Complaints range from deliveries that were late or never arrived to poor quality and difficulty obtaining refunds because the temporary store has already closed its doors.
BBB serving Eastern NC offers the following advice about shopping at Halloween pop-up stores and websites:
Research store headquarters. If you're interested in trying a new or unfamiliar online merchant, ask the company for its physical location (address and phone number) so you can check its BBB Business Review at bbb.org.
Review purchase policies. Determine the company's refund and return policies before you buy. If online companies can’t offer concrete commitments on how they will handle any potential problems you may have with their products or services, reconsider doing business with them.
Ask questions. Be sure you have a thorough understanding of everything involved before placing an order. Be clear on the price, and any shipping and handling charges.
Know the terms of any product or service guarantees. Find out how long it will be before you receive your order. Federal law requires that goods and services be delivered within 30 days, unless a different delivery period is specifically stated by the merchant.
Guard your personal information. Only provide your credit card number online in a secure environment. Look for the prefix “https://” in the URL box listing the website’s address to be sure that the site you are using is secure. The “s” in the https means it is a secure site.
Ask how long a store will operate. If you’re buying from a seasonal store, ask whether it will be open after the holiday and whether it will accept returns when the season is over. If not, consider buying elsewhere or taking more time to be sure the item is exactly what you want before making the purchase.