Roanoke, VA (November 25, 2013) If the past few years are any indication, Thanksgiving dinner may soon be replaced with Thanksgiving breakfast. You might want to get that turkey to go, Black Friday is on the horizon and it’s earlier than ever this year.
For many consumers Black Friday will ironically begin on Thursday this year, as retailers have jumped at the opportunity to begin the post-tryptophan transactions as early as Thanksgiving morning. If you’re going to join the brave souls this year there’s a number of reasons why you need to be prepared. 130 million reasons to be exact, that’s the number of shoppers the National Retail Federation expects will turn out for Thursday and Black Friday shopping. That’s a lot of folks competing for the some of the best deals of the year, and they’re not the only ones in competition. Black Friday can make or break a retailer’s year, and they’ll be fiercely finding ways to get you through their doors.
“It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping, but it’s important to maintain your composure and perspective,” said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. “Make sure you go over the terms and conditions of the purchase along with the price. Some advertised deals may take into account mail-in rebates that need to be redeemed later to get that sale price.”
Another consideration when participating in Black Friday shopping is the opportunity the “shopping holiday” gives criminals for an easy score. With so many millions of consumers searching for the best deals, it can be easy to become distracted and careless. Swarmed by shoppers on all sides, it can be simple for thieves to find their own steals on Black Friday.
Here are some BBB tips on finding the best deals, staying safe, and escaping with both your sanity and bank account in one piece:
Budget: It is easy to overspend when seeking gifts for friends and family members; avoid buyer’s remorse by recognizing emotional spending and sticking to budgets.
Research: Clip or print legitimate coupons and bring them along on shopping sprees. Learn about upcoming sales by signing up for email alerts with favorite retailers; many stores reward loyal customers with special offers.
Compare: Many Black Friday advertisements claim to offer “the best” deals. Make sure to compare prices and services—consider warranties, returns and other policies—before heading out to malls.
Gather: Being in the “know” helps consumers shop more efficiently. Collect information about retailers and products before making purchases.
Swipe: Pay with credit cards whenever possible, charges can be contested if products are defective or misrepresented. Consider carrying only one card in case it is lost or stolen. Always cover keypads when entering PINs.
Save: Retain receipts in case returns are required. Ask for gift receipts which include item descriptions but do not disclose prices to recipients.
Check out the company. Visit bbb.org or call540-342-3455 or 800-533-5501 to obtain free Business Reviews.
Return policies, restocking fees and refunds. Ask for the store’s return policy before you make your purchase. Companies are not required to give you your money back, but they need to post their return policy prominently near the cashier. Also, always ask about restocking fees, and save your receipts in one place so you don’t lose them. Many companies will require you to produce a receipt for a return. Ask for a gift receipt.
Keep your purse in sight and your wallet in your front pocket.
Take only one credit card with you. If your wallet gets stolen, you’ll only need to cancel one card. Avoid carrying a lot of cash.
Try not to grab more than you can carry. Chances are you’ll forget your wallet or purse, or be unable to stop a thief from snatching it.
Have your keys in hand as you near your vehicle. Make sure you check both around the vehicle and the back seats before getting into the car.
Don’t leave store bags or other valuables visible in the vehicle while you are shopping. Lock them in the trunk or take them home after buying them.
For more advice on safe shopping, please visit www.bbb.org or contact the BBB Serving Western VA at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501.
The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA