BBB Advice For Black Friday Shopping: Set A Budget, Research Deals

The BBB advises consumers to set a budget and research deals before heading out for Black Friday shopping.

Black Friday is almost upon us, and many people are planning to line up for openings as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Retailers have been touting and teasing the upcoming deals for several weeks now.

But how do you know a deal is worth missing sleep - or skipping out on family gatherings? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to take a hard look at their budgets and to research the deals before leaving home. Is the item really something you need or want? How are you going to pay for your purchase when the bills come after the holidays?

Here are our nine tips for Black Friday shopping, whether you do it in person or online:

  1. Protect your personal information. Check to see how your information may be used online. When shopping at stores, keep your card out of sight and make sure you get it back and safely in your wallet before you leave the store.
  2. Check the site’s security settings and privacy policy. If the site is secure, its address should start with https://. You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
  3. Know the company’s refund and return policies. Are there restocking fees? Do you have to pay shipping costs on returns?
  4. Do not rely on pictures of a product. Read the description and check model numbers, if applicable.
  5. Be cautious of free or very-low-price offers.  Often, free offers are followed by an open-ended enrollment in a program that automatically bills your credit card account. Before ordering anything online, make sure you click on and read all terms and conditions.
  6. Pay with a credit card. If you suspect fraud or don’t receive your order, you  can challenge the charge in the event of a dispute.
  7. Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out when the seller intends to ship it and if possible, how it will be shipped.
  8. Print out the order or save it on your computer. Make sure you have the documentation page for online orders and save it until the order arrives.
  9. Be aware of phishing. Don’t respond to emails that ask for your credit card or bank account number or other personal information. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming there is a problem with an order or account to lure you into revealing financial information. Call the company or find the customer service form on the company website to confirm any problem.

Our release on Black Friday shopping is available online.

As always, we advise checking a company's BBB Business Review before doing business at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300. The BBB will be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday.

For more BBB tips, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or head to our News Center.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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