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BBB Tip of the Week: Don’t get scammed on Mother’s Day

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

Mother’s Day is nearly here, and along with it comes the purchase of special gifts, even with the pandemic continuing to place restrictions on how people spend the time together. In fact, consumers are planning to spend as much – if not more – on Mother’s Day than they have in the past.

According to a National Retail Federation Survey, an optimistic 46% still wanted to plan a traditional special outing, brunch or other activities. Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific reminds everyone to exercise caution when shopping online and in stores.

In 2019, online purchase scams were the third-riskiest scam, according to the BBB Risk Report. Here are few suggestions to avoid losing your personal information or money this Mother’s Day.

Shopping online. Avoid suspicious websites and glossy pop-up ads. Make sure the website has the https:// and the ‘lock’ icon in the URL. Don’t click on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails. Pay with credit card or PayPal. Understand return and refund policies. Read the fine print.

Flowers. Since Mother’s Day flower sales are the second-highest sales period for your local florist, it’s important to choose wisely and find someone you can trust with your order. Complaints filed with BBB about florists included flowers being late, wrong or not delivered. Also, it is not uncommon for local flower shops to be affiliated with third-party entities. BBB advises consumers to confirm that the business they are placing their order with is affiliated with that online source. If you are sending flowers to your mother in another city, it is best to check online for a florist in her area. Make sure you have enough time for delivery, ask about all fees associated with your order and make sure the date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.

Electronics. Whether you plan to buy Mom a new phone, tablet or other electronic device, make sure you leave it in the original packaging. Many retailers require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges. Buy from reputable dealers.

Gift cards and certificates. Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before buying. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping and not just for in-store use. Make sure the gift card has not been tampered with.

Guides, tours and classes. Art classes, wine tastings and cooking lessons are fun ways to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it’s important to get the details of these activities in writing. Be sure to clarify total costs and features, if there are reservations needed and if there are any restrictions, special time requirements or cancellation fees.

Check state restrictions on dining options. Several states have different gathering restrictions in public areas as well as restrictions for businesses such as restaurants. Before making plans, know what rules and restrictions are in place in your area.

Learn more about COVID-19 scams at www.bbb-businesses.og/COVID-19, and review reports from other consumers at BBB.org/ScamTracker. You can help protect your friends and family by passing on what you’ve learned.

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