While the holiday season is
traditionally a time to be with family and friends, it also tends to be
a hectic time that can make any shopper feel harried. When shopping
during the holidays, consider the following:
- Plan ahead. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Also
make a list of the gifts you would like to give. This helps you to
avoid buying on impulse gifts that may be inappropriate or too
- Compare prices and shop carefully. Holiday "sales" and "markdowns" sometimes are not the bargains they appear to be.
making a purchase, ask the merchant about its refund and exchange
policy. A store is not obligated to accept items for refund, exchange,
or credit unless the item is defective or was misrepresented.
informed about your rights when placing orders through catalogs, mail
order, TV shopping networks or online venues. Additional information on
mail and telephone order shopping is available from the Federal Trade
Commission (www.ftc.gov). Ask about delivery times, delivery costs and
how returns are handled. Contact the Better Business Bureau to obtain a
report on the company.
- If you are considering shopping on
the Internet, exercise the same care and judgment that you would on
Main Street. If you are not familiar with the online merchant or
company, contact your BBB for a report. Know the web site's privacy
policy before you place an order. Visit the BBBOnLine site
(www.bbbonline.org) for additional information regarding online
businesses. If you are shopping online, and you are not comfortable
entering your credit or charge card account number online, call it in
to the company's 800 number or fax it.
- Buy appropriate toys for children. Keep in mind the child's age and abilities. Use the age guidelines on toy packages.
on your guard at all times when shopping. Never leave your wallet,
credit card or purse on a counter. Do not get overloaded with packages.
Shop with a companion or ask for a security escort to your car.
but give wisely. If you are approached in person for a donation, do not
give if you are pressured or if the solicitor is vague. Ask for written
information to review. If the appeal is legitimate, your donation will
be just as appreciated after the holidays as before the holidays. Check
with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org) for additional holiday giving advice and information on charities meeting CBBB ethical guidelines.