All deals are not created equal. Before you head out the door for a blockbuster and get caught up in the frenzy, BBB offers the following tip sheet to help you save time and money.
Tip 1 Know before you go. Retailers will release their Black Friday deals online, in social media and other publications. Research where the sales are and make a list of your gift priorities to compare prices and plan. Since many advertisements will begin before the actual sale, build up a coupon collection as soon as possible. Remember to bring ads with you on Black Friday just in case the price is not what you expected.
Tip 2 Dont fall for false advertising. Despite BBBs effort to advance trust in the marketplace, some companies will resort to advertisements that are untrue, misleading, deceptive, or plain fraudulent. Black Friday advertising will be abundant and BBB urges consumers to watch for red flags.
Many consumers have experienced frustration and lost money they cant afford to lose after being lured by prices too good to be true, bait and switch ads designed to bring you in but push you toward more expensive items, fine print return policies, final sales, and deals that end before the day is done. To protect you on Black Friday, BBB advises consumers not to believe all they see or hear.
Tip 3 Maximize advance alerts. Do you have a favorite retailer? BBB Accredited Businesses and other stores are working to reward your loyalty and you may get a jump on special offers.
Tip 4 Set up your reward cards. Have you ever stood in line without your store rewards card? Black Friday deals may have strict restrictions with no sharing allowed. Make sure you have reward cards with your favorite stores and keep them with you.
Tip 5 Shop with trust. If you find a deal dont just jump at the first chance to get it. BBB recommends doing your research on the business know how long theyve been in business, look into their customer service track record on bbb.org. If you have concerns about the gift or right fit make sure you ask about their return policy.
Tip 6 Comparison shop online. There are dozens of Black Friday websites that claim to capture the best deals around and they can really help you.
Tip 7 Look for QR codes. Theyre square, black-and-white and funny looking but can take you straight to a deal. QR stands for Quick Response codes and theyre popping up in many ads and print materials. Before you can scan one and view the offer youll have to install a QR app reader. Most smart phones are equipped to scan QR codes and if youre a mobile shopper you could really have some fun.
Tip 8 Shop small. Save your gas money and your time when you stay close to home. Better Business Bureau encourages people to support small community businesses on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday. Check your neighborhood retailers for their weekend deals and earn some goodwill by knowing youve done your part to help them thrive.
Tip 9 Check return and exchange policies. Make sure you know what the return and exchange policy is for your Black Friday special and that a return is even possible especially if youre buying online. Final sales, a very short return window (like before Dec. 25) or in-store or online only credit could leave you with a deal gone wrong.
Tip 10 Shop safely. While getting a deal is important, there are ways to shop safely without putting yourself or your wallet in jeopardy.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115