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Halloween shopping tips

October 10, 2018

This year the National Retail Federation expects shoppers a to spend up to $9 billion on Halloween-related purchases. When it comes to purchasing costumes and other Halloween supplies, 45 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores, 35 percent will visit a Halloween store and 24 percent will shop online. Before you purchase your spooky costume, Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific offers these tips to avoid being tricked:

Look for sales. Compare prices on costumes and decorations from various retail or online stores. Look for coupons and sign up for email alerts to get the best deal.

Check the return policy. Ask about the stores return policy before you buy. Find out how long you need your receipt, or what happens if you lost it. This will help you avoid any mishaps like unwanted items being non-refundable. Keep in mind that buying a bunch of stuff with the intent of simply returning it after Oct. 31 is considered fraud.

Shop smart. When shopping from an online website, the first step is to make sure the URL starts with “https” and includes a lock symbol. The S in “https” stands for secure. Look up the website’s privacy policy and contact information. If it is not clearly listed, or they only have an email as the point of contact, take that as a big red flag and shop elsewhere. Also, be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection, but it’s also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Seasonal stores

If you decide to shop from a seasonal store, ask whether or not they will be open after the holiday, how long they plan to stay open, and if they will accept returns after Halloween is over. If they plan to close up shop Nov. 1, or refuse returns after, either consider shopping elsewhere, or take more time to be sure that item is exactly what you want before making the purchase.

More tips for seasonal “pop-up” stores:

n See if they have a website in case you have to contact them later.

n Save every receipt.

n Use a credit card so you can dispute problems with the card’s issuer.

n Make sure you are clear on what items are final.

Do a little pre-planning before purchasing tickets to a special event or haunted house. Check online reviews to make sure you can trust the company hosting the event.

Check out the company at bbb.org. Read what previous customers have to say, and see how the business responds to complaints.

Check BBB Scam Tracker and see if other consumers have filed a report about the event host.

Search the business online adding the word “Complaint,” “Reviews” or “Scam” after their name for different search results.

For more tips on buying tickets, click here.

Jeremy Johnson is the Eastern Idaho Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific. Contact the BBB at 208-342-4649 or email to info@thebbb.org.

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