The ultimate guide to holiday shopping from the Better Business Bureau

As the saying goes, it’s the loveliest time of the year. Happy music, Christmas parties, festive decorations. It can make even the grinchiest people beam with joy. But gift-giving season comes at a price, and the 2022 holiday shopping season promises to be unpredictable.

Consumers are already struggling with high inflation rates and higher prices for consumer goods, which is putting a damper on holiday shopping. Additionally, electronics, toys and other products will be (or already are) in short supply, and retailers are struggling to hire staff as shopping season approaches.

Product shortages and increased online shopping are likely to lead to an increase in online purchase fraud this year. These scams accounted for nearly 40% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2021. Shortages are likely to make purchase fraud even more prevalent as desperate shoppers visit shady websites hoping to find the must-have gifts of the year.

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But don’t get your tinsel mixed up — the good news is that if you get a go, do your research, know what to avoid, and be ready for Jolly Old Saint Nick, you’ll be a savvy holiday shopper. Here’s your ultimate guide to getting through the holiday season successfully:

Black Friday, November 25th

Get the most out of Black Friday deals. Start with a list of items and use sales flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Set a budget and stick to it before you head out.

Some retailers may offer an additional percentage on purchase, but may exclude certain offers or items such as “door breakers”. Watch out for companies with a high discount percentage; The item may be “75% off” but the original price may be inflated. Carefully review the price tags, terms and conditions. Research online to see if competitors are offering the item at a better price.

Provide all information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will be using the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it doesn’t suit them, but make sure the item is returnable before purchasing.

Small Business Saturday 26th November

Small Business Saturday – a day celebrating and supporting small businesses across the country – has become a key part of the holiday shopping season. You can get involved by buying from local businesses in your community, which in turn helps the local economy. These business owners are neighbors, friends and family with local roots. You can feel good about shopping small, knowing your purchase is making a difference.

Many communities hold special events to celebrate and support the businesses that make your hometown unique. Find out what local events are happening near you on the Small Business Saturday website, or visit your local chamber of commerce or dealership association.

Find out what previous customers have to say by reading online reviews, e.g. For example, visit BBB.org and see which stores are participating by going to ShopSmall.org.

Cyber ​​Monday, 28.11

Do you shop comfortably from home on your computer, tablet or mobile phone? Be wary of scams that target online shoppers who are quick to checkout. A recent study by the Better Business Bureau found that online fraud has increased by 87% since 2015.

If a company is selling the hottest item of the year at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for false advertising and keep a close eye on the web address in your browser. Scammers love to create similar websites that at first glance appear to belong to a trusted retailer.

Be wary of deals you are unfamiliar with. Check out their BBB Company Profile on BBB.org, see the rating and read customer reviews. And make sure you’re surfing on a secure web address that starts with “HTTPS” and not just “HTTP”. Never enter personal or financial information in forms on non-secure websites.

Issue Tuesday, November 29:

The holiday season isn’t just about shopping; Thanks to Giving Tuesday, it’s also an important time to support charities and give back. Even if you have a limited budget – every euro counts. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance on Give.org urges potential donors to research charities before making a donation to ensure their generous giving goes to organizations they trust.

When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before donating, make sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid confusion.

Also check the website carefully. A responsible charity will publish the following facts on its website: its mission and programs, measurable goals, and concrete criteria that describe its achievements. You should also be able to find information about their finances. Keep in mind that the type of work a charity does affects its cost.

Also watch out for spontaneous donation decisions from unknown organizations. The holidays bring a higher frequency of fundraising requests outside of public places. Don’t let yourself be pressured into making a donation decision right away. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift just as much tomorrow as they do today.

Marketers have been known to use the holidays to solicit donors emotionally. Rather than making an impulse decision based on emotion, do your research first to make sure the charity you choose is acting ethically.

Find out more at bbb.org/holiday.

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