BBB Offers Tips for Holiday Shopping

The holiday shopping season will soon be in full swing. The top three shopping days–Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are sure to yield some great deals. However, this time of year can also result in some big headaches. In order to avoid problems with your purchase, make sure you’re familiar with important details such as the store’s return policy.

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for making the most of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Stay within budget. The average holiday shopper will spend an average of $804.42, according to the National Retail Federation. You want to be smart about your purchase and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. This way, you won’t be stuck with a mountain of post-holiday bills that you’re unable to pay off.

Pre-shop online. Take time to check prices online for items on your list. Consequently, you’ll be able to jump on a good deal right away.

Familiarize yourself with store return policies. Make sure you understand the policy for restocking fees and return deadlines. Also get to know any special return policy terms that apply to seasonal and special deal items.

Don’t forget to get a gift receipt. This will provide the recipient with a proof-of-purchase so that he or she will be able to return or exchange the item without a hassle.

Keep safety in mind. Take steps to ensure your computer or mobile device has the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. The BBB recommends only shopping on trusted websites and looking for the BBB seal and Ad Choices logos. These sites offer more control over whether advertisers can use your information for targeted advertising.

Make sure your online purchase is secure. Says the BBB, “always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying. Though these are good indicators of a “safe” site, phishers have been able to spoof them. Make it a habit to enter the address of any banking, shopping or financial transaction website yourself—do not follow links from an email or third party site. If there are any doubts about a site, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Properties” or “View Page Info.” This should let you see the actual URL (website address) and the dialog box will reveal whether the site is encrypted.”

For more on this topic, see the article, The Best Times of the Year to Snag a Deal.