With Father's Day just a week from Sunday, the BBB has some tips that can take the scary out of shopping.
Scammers are lurking in many places people like to shop, but especially on the Internet. Finding trusted vendors is as easy as checking out a BBB Business Review before you buy or contract for anything.
Today's BBB release gives you tips for several different categories of purchases:
St. Louis, Mo., June 8, 2012 – The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that America has 70.1 million fathers, and many of them will receive Father’s Day gifts from appreciative family members this weekend. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to help families avoid scams when they’re shopping for gifts.
“Father’s Day should be a time of celebration, not disappointment,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “Before you buy a gift, you should check refund and exchange policies, whether you’re buying from a store or going online. Ask about any warranties on durable items and gadgets.”
Popular gifts and things to consider when buying them include:
Gift cards and gift certificates: Check terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before you buy it. Does the certificate expire if it’s not used by a specific date. Are there fees associated with buying or redeeming a gift card? Can the card be used online or only in a store?
Electronics: If you decide to buy a camera, GPS system, cell phone, music player or another electronic device, be sure you keep it in its original packaging. Encourage your Dad to look it over carefully before opening it. Some stores may not accept returns if the packaging has been opened or removed. If it needs batteries, find out what kind and whether they are included.
Recreational rentals: If you want to rent campers, boats or other recreational equipment for your dad, be sure you get a written contract that details the cost, insurance and time restrictions. Inspect the rental and get written proof of existing damage before renting the equipment.
Guides, tours and classes: Fishing, sightseeing, skydiving and golf lessons can be a fun way to spend time with Dad. But you will need to get the details in writing in advance of the trip or class. Make sure you clarify the following:
- Are reservations required and if so, by when?
- What are the total costs and features.
- What services and equipment are included?
- Are taxes, tips or other charges added.
- Are there any restrictions or special time requirements.
- Are there cancellation fees or refund penalties or policies
Clothing or personal items: Despite our best intentions, sometimes there may be a problem with the item or it may not fit. If you don’t know what size or color your father prefers, make returns easy by getting a gift receipt.
Before you do business with any company, check its BBB Business Review by calling 314-645-3300 or going to www.bbb.org.
The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.