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Consumer Updates

Don’t be left in the dark on Black Friday, be prepared

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November 21, 2011 | 1,922 views | Post a comment

BBB has tips to avoid a stressful Black Friday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas -- The weekend following Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday weekend, is one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. According to a survey conducted by National Retail Federation, 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend last year.

Every year Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints from consumers who allege a variety of issues with retailers on Black Friday. Some of the more common complaints BBB receives involve misleading advertisements, low availability of items or consumers failing to receive items after ordering in-store.

BBB offers consumers the following tips to help save time, stress and money on this busy shopping weekend:

· Start planning now. Many retail stores are already promoting Black Friday deals in ads and on their websites. Take time to print out or clip ads for items you are interested in buying to help outline your shopping day in advance.

· Create a realistic budget. Know whom you are buying gifts for and how much you are willing to spend. As you buy gifts, keep track of the cost and avoid impulse purchases to prevent over-spending.

· Watch out for tricky advertising. Read the fine print on all advertised sales to make sure you are truly saving money, and bring the ad with you. Watch for discrepancies in advertised prices and the prices on the shelf. Verify the real price before checking out.

· Read the fine print on gift cards. These can be found on the back of the card and will let you know the terms and conditions for using the card. There could be limitations to in-store purchases or exclusions on certain items.

· Ask about return policies. While many stores offer a 30-day return policy, it is important to read the terms and conditions associated with each purchase. And remember that the refund policy usually applies to the day you purchase the item not when you give the item as a gift. Be sure to request gift receipts for all gifts.

· Pay with a credit card. Credit cards carry more protections than a debit card if a purchase comes into question. Make sure to keep all receipts for return and/or dispute purposes.

· Think twice about store credit cards. Many retailers will offer discounts for signing up for their credit card, but these can sometimes carry high interest rates or annual fees. If you do not plan on shopping at a particular store very often or think you may forget to pay the balance, the credit card may not be financially beneficial for you.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit

About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.
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