By Rachel Newman
My favorite holiday is finally here. No, it’s not Thanksgiving; although, I do love sweet potatoes. Black Friday is the holiday of all holidays. The frenzy, the hustle and bustle of winter shoppers, and the amazing deals are something that I look forward to all year long.
If you are like me, you are already plotting your routes for the busiest shopping day of the year. But even if you aren’t like me, you are probably still reluctantly going to trek to the mall because, let’s face it, who can resist getting the new Call of Duty for only $15?
Black Friday is a day where many people will agree that the phrase “Look how much I saved!” means way more than “Look how much I spent!” And, as such, here are a few friendly shopping tips from your BBB alongside some tips for avoiding common scams on this upcoming Friday!
· Do your research before you get to the mall. Compare prices to make sure you are making the most of your money, and check online for better deals.
· Make a list of what you want to buy. Whether you need to stick to a strict budget or not, make a list of what you are looking for so you don’t forget any crucial items and, also so that you know which store to go to.
· Use a credit card. Credit card use makes it easy to track purchases and returns.
· Bring the ad with you. Having the ad with you is a great option, just in case a store isn’t willing to honor what they have advertised.
· Keep your receipts! Always save your receipts, just in case anything goes awry!
· Read the fine print and know the policies. Read stores’ return and store credit policies. While most stores have a more lenient return policy during the holidays, some stores will only allow a day or two period when you can return something and receive a full refund.
· Be wary of the bait and switch. Great deals abound on Black Friday, but many retailers will try to bait you with the offer of a very cheap item and then, once you are in the store, degrade the discounted item in favor of a much more expensive option. Always be aware of high-pressure sales tactics, and stick to your guns.
· Use caution at the ATMs. Installing skimmers at ATMs, gas stations and grocery stores has become a popular scam for con-artists. These skimmers steal your credit card information and pin number when you run your card. Try not to use ATMs close to malls. Instead, go to your bank or credit union’s ATM, where you are sure that your information is safe.
· Double check all gift cards. A new trick for fraudsters is to strip the money off of grocery store gift cards. If you are in the market for gift cards this Friday, make sure to verify that the amount that is advertised is actually on the card at the register.
For more shopping and online shopping tips, go to the News Center on BBB.org. For more information about the BBB, visit BBB.org or call 858.496.2131. Happy hunting, Black Friday shoppers!