Each year around Halloween, the Better Business Bureau receives complaints from consumers about the inability to obtain refunds and return holiday items, defective products and late or undelivered costume orders.
When shopping at temporary, pop-up stores, the BBB offers the following tips to ensure your Halloween is “spooktacular”:
• Ask employees how long the store will continue to operate and if they will accept returns after the holiday.
• If a store doesn’t accept returns or offer refunds, make sure what you buy is exactly what you want.
• If the store does accept returns and offers refunds, be sure to save your receipts as documentation of your purchases.
• If possible, pay for your purchases by credit card. If you run into problems with the merchandise or retailer, you may have recourse through your credit card company.
When shopping online for your Halloween gear, the BBB offers the following suggestions to avoid being tricked, which is never a treat:
• Make sure you have the right merchant, ask the company for its physical address and phone number for the search.
• Locate the online merchant’s return and refund policies. If you can’t find any policies, reconsider doing business with them.
• Make sure the price and any shipping charges are clearly stated before you buy. Only buy from a secure website that begins with “https://”.
• Make sure you aren’t left guessing when you’ll receive your order. Federal law requires that goods and services ordered over the Internet are shipped within 30 days, unless specified differently by the merchant. Plan ahead to allow for delivery time.
• Pay for online purchases by credit card. If you never receive ordered items or they arrive damaged, you may be able to dispute the charge or cancel the transaction with your credit card company.
If you have a complaint about a temporary business or online merchant, contact the BBB at (509) 455-4200 or file a complaint at www.bbb.org/ consumer-complaints/.
By Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor
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