According to the National Retail Federation, 140 million people expect to make purchases during this holiday kickoff shopping weekend. However, Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds bargain hunters to come up with game plans before hitting stores.
Budget: It is easy to overspend when seeking gifts for friends and family members; avoid buyer’s remorse by recognizing emotional spending and sticking to budgets.
Research: Clip or print legitimate coupons and bring them along on shopping sprees. Learn about upcoming sales by signing up for email alerts with favorite retailers; many stores reward loyal customers with special offers.
Compare: Many Black Friday advertisements claim to offer “the best” deals. Make sure to compare prices and services—consider warranties, returns and other policies—before heading out to malls.
Gather: Being in the “know” helps consumers shop more efficiently. Collect information about retailers and products before making purchases.
Swipe: Pay with credit cards whenever possible, charges can be contested if products are defective or misrepresented. Consider carrying only one card in case it is lost or stolen. Always cover keypads when entering PINs.
Save: Retain receipts in case returns are required. Ask for gift receipts which include item descriptions but do not disclose prices to recipients.
Ask: Before you buy, inquire about the stores refund or exchange policies. While many major retailers have policies that will allow you to bring back any item at any time for any reason (or no reason at all), consumers should not assume all outlets will accept returns. A store’s particular policy may only be applicable at that one location. Just because a major retailer has a liberal policy that allows recipients to obtain a store credit for an item that was opened, used, or perhaps not even purchased at that store, doesn’t mean that all branches are obliged to do the same.
Visit northalabama.bbb.org to find BBB Business Reviews on thousands of companies and download the BBB iPhone app to research on-the-go. To report unfair or deceptive advertising during the holiday shopping season, file a BBB complaint.