BBB offers tips to avoid pitfalls of Black Friday - - The News for South Mississippi

BBB offers tips to avoid pitfalls of Black Friday

Shoppers checking out the sales. (Photo source: WLOX News) Shoppers checking out the sales. (Photo source: WLOX News)

The biggest shopping rush of the year has almost arrived.

Close to 140 million consumers shopped Black Friday in 2014 and even more are expected in 2015, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Not only that, those same deal hunters are expected to spend five percent more that the previous year. The National Retail Federation states shoppers will spend an average $463, which is up $458 from 204.

But before you hit the stores, the BBB wants you to shop smart.

First, be aware of the sales on advertisements over promising and under delivering. That's when a store advertises a steep saving for an item, however, its quantities are extremely limited or only a few stores carry it.

The BBB says small quantities were a big consumer complaint in 2014.

"Call to see, is this a limited quantity or they may tell you it's to the first 100 people who come in. So at least you know what you're getting into," said CEO John O'Hara with the Better Business Bureau in Mississippi.

"I remember going to one store getting up super early thinking I was going to get this tv for a really good price, but I ended up not getting it because I didn't have a ticket," said Tonya Desmuke.

Here's another tip — get a gift receipt, but also know the store's return policy.

"A lot of times people will buy stuff and the return policy is maybe 30 days from the date of purchase, giving someone only two or three days after Christmas to return the item," said O'Hara.

Then there's the credit cards new chips. The BBB says the cards are another layer of protection, making it harder for criminals to steal your credit card information with the chip.

Another important tip is to make a list of items you plan to buy. If not, the BBB warns that you'll likely end up going over your budget and forget the items you actually went shopping for.

"People should definitely have a list and stay within their budget so they don't over shop," added Desmuke.

So if you can deal with the crowds, the shopping and what some call the chaos, the BBB says go for it. Just shop smart.

Beyond just scanning the ads, another way to to stay on top of the latest sales is by signing up or a stores email or text alerts to know about sales at your favorite stores.

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