Black Friday has a very dark side that has deceived many. And many organizations have reported it to help consumers. Since on this date some stores, see an opportunity to scam people, raising their prices weeks before, so on the day of the sale, the products have almost no discount. And those who shop online aren't safe either because there are fake websites with credit card shopping options to steal the user's identity. And even if you thought that by having the product, you're safe, you can be wrong since some companies sell low-quality products disguised as great offers. So before buying something because it's on sale, you must be a bit careful.
The Federal Trade Commission published some simple tips one should follow to protect themselves.
- Make a list and a budget. Include incidentals, like cards, wrapping paper and eating out.
- Check out websites that compare prices for items sold online, and at stores in your area.
- Look for rebates. Some can be redeemed at checkout, but most require you to send documentation to the manufacturer to get your rebate.
- Make sure the scanned price is right. Overcharges cost you money and time, especially if you don’t notice them right away.
- Consider customer reviews carefully. The law says reviewers should disclose their connection to a company, but not all of them do. Before you buy anything based on a review, search online for information from sources you trust. Compare reviews from a variety of websites.
- Giving jewelry? Take some time to learn the terms used in the industry so you can get the best quality and value.
- If you use a mobile device or computer to shop for deals, be aware that some unexpected emails, texts or posts may lead to fraudulent sites claiming bargains on brand name products.
- Save receipts. When you’re shopping online, keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs, and warranties.
- Billed for merchandise that wasn’t received? Here’s what to do.
- If money’s tight, consider layaway. You typically make a deposit and pay over time; the retailer holds the merchandise until you’ve paid for the item in full.
Enjoy your shopping but follow the sensible tips. Ensure that your Holiday Season is not marred by the unscrupulous business lurking around both the internet and the malls of America.