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With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all crammed into one long weekend, Better Business Bureau wants to help make your shopping adventure go as smoothly as possible.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday Make Up a Busy Weekend for Holiday Shoppers

Grab your shopping bags and compile your lists, the biggest holiday shopping days are almost here! With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all crammed into one long weekend, Better Business Bureau wants to help make your shopping adventure go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips:

Create a budget and stick to it

According to the National Retail Federation, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and other seasonal items, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent last year. How can you keep from overspending? BBB has once again teamed up with Clearpoint Credit Solutions to offer the Holiday Planner Calculator. This easy-to-use online tool will help you create a budget that is realistic for the way you celebrate, entertain, travel and give gifts this holiday season.

Don’t fall for the too-good-to-be-true deal

On “Black Friday” (and every day), get to know retailers first by checking out their BBB Business Reviews at bbb.org. Compare prices before you hit the stores on Black Friday so you know if you really are getting a great deal. Newspapers will often have coupons that give discounts for Black Friday. When searching for coupons online, make sure to get them from the store’s website, not from an offsite deal promoter.
Shop Amazon – Black Friday Deals Week

Shop small on Small Business Saturday

November 24 is Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year. BBB is teaming up with American Express, a BBB Accredited Business and National Partner, to spread the word on why small businesses are so awesome. Here’s a fun infographic to show just how important small businesses are to our economy.

Watch out for scams

The new BBB Scam Stopper website can tell you all about the latest scams, and help you learn the most common tactics used by scam artists both in-person and online. Be especially careful of holiday related scams. Be sure that letter from Santa is from a legitimate site before you share your child’s personal information. And that friend or grandchild who was mugged while traveling and needs some cash wired ASAP? That’s a scam. Don’t fall for it!

Shop safely online

November 26th is “Cyber Monday,” and there will be lots of online deals to be had. Before your surf the net, make sure your computer has the most recent updates for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Scammers use this holiday time to prey on online shoppers. Only shop on trusted websites, and look for the Ad Choices logo for sites that give you more control over whether advertisers can use your information for targeted advertising. It’s also best to use a credit card when shopping online because you can dispute the charges if you don’t receive the item you ordered.
Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week

Know your rights

Whether shopping retail or online, know your legal rights. U.S. law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods aren’t shipped on time, the shopper can cancel and demand a refund. Consumers also have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or was misrepresented. Otherwise, it’s the company’s policies that determine if the shopper can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit, so be sure you understand return policies before you buy. Keep track of all receipts and documentation, too.

For more advice on safe shopping this holiday season, visit www.bbb.org.

Also Legal Shield re-affirms with the following 7 tips for Holiday Shopping:

  1. Understand your finances before going to the store or shopping online. It is easy to throw your budget or financial planning out the window when confronted by the newest gadget or a great sale, but it is important to set and follow a strict budget for your holiday shopping. Do not let eager sales staff or your own excitement sell you on products that are outside of your budget.
  1. Beware of retail credit card or quick loan offers you cannot afford. Many lenders use the holiday cash crunch to attract borrowers. Do not sign up for any new credit cards or loans without reviewing the rates and terms carefully. Call your LegalShield provider law firm if you need any assistance.
  1. Know the retailer’s return policy. Many holiday retail disputes stem from misunderstandings over the return or refund policies. Make sure you read and understand the store policies before purchasing big-ticket items. Some returns will require costly restocking fees and some sale items may not be eligible for return.
  1. Beware of service plans and warranties. Additional protection is offered as an add-on during checkout at many retailers. Before purchasing a protection plan or warrantee make sure you understand the terms, limitations and likelihood you will need the added protection.
  1. Shop online from trusted retailers. It is important to make sure you are on the correct website by checking the domain name in the browser. Sometimes unsolicited emails that link to products will actually direct you to scam sites designed to look like a trusted retailer. Make sure the website’s checkout is also secure. The domain name at the top or bottom of your browser should contain https://.
  1. Do your homework when using an unknown online retailer. Make sure the company has a physical address and a working phone number. Run their name through a search engine to make sure they have a good reputation.
  2. Never pay for items purchased online with wire transfers or money orders. These types of payment offer no tracking or protection in the event of a scam.

Source: Better Business Bureau, Legal Shield
Photo credit to: BBB

Editor’s Note: The tips provided here is intended for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Readers should be aware that while certain principles outlined on this post may be similar to principles followed in their own state or province, laws can vary considerably. If you have any questions please call your provider law firm. From everyone at DiversityNewsMagazine.com, DiversityNewsPublications.com and the entire Diversity News Publications Family of Companies, we wish you and yours a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

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