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BBB Alert: Avoid Black Friday Scammers

Rockford, IL – November 23, 2022 – Black Friday, traditionally the single busiest combined online and in-person shopping day of the year, arrives a little earlier this year, with many stores already advertising Black Friday prices.

Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau says, “This always is a time where emotions run high and, to snap up a great deal people often rush their decisions. This can lead to buyer’s remorse if a fast decision leads to getting scammed online, or buying an item that shoppers end up deciding they didn’t want or dealing with a company that turns out to be substandard. The lowest price is not always the best deal; working with companies you know, and trust is invaluable.”

Despite the headwinds of an economy struggling with inflation, the National Retail Association predicts healthy spending this year. Their forecast is for holiday retail to grow 6% to 8% over 2021 figures, between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.

These numbers would represent a historical high for holiday shopping, surpassing last year’s holiday sales, which increased 13.5% over 2020 and totaled $889.3 billion, shattering previous records.

Instead of setting the alarm to brave crowds for deeply discounted items, dedicated shoppers are expected to look for deals online, like last year. Issues such as shipping delays, hiring challenges and microchip shortages impact how people shop. Retail experts are predicting higher than normal store crowds and increased spending percentages on gifts, decorations, and other holiday-related items.

If you do decide to shop in person on Black Friday, the Better Business Bureau offers these tips:
Do your research. Check BBB.ORG for business profiles, ratings, and reviews of the stores and read what other customers have experienced. Also, read product reviews on extremely discounted items. It could be a cheaper model or brand advertised and not what was expected.

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

Read the fine print. Some retailers may offer an additional percentage off the purchase but could exclude specific deals or items such as “doorbusters.” Watch for companies boasting a high percentage off; the item may be “75% off,” but the original price could be inflated. Carefully check the price tags, terms, and conditions.

Plan out the excursion. Consumers can plan out their shopping sprees. Make a map of the stores to visit and what items are at which store. Some sales are only during a specific time frame of the day. Some retailers could limit the amount of deeply discounted items available for purchase.

Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals and exclusive coupons to people who have subscribed to their emails. Sign up ahead of the holiday season, and then unsubscribe afterward if needed.

Know the return policy and warranty information. Provide any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right, but make sure the item is able to be returned before purchasing. Refunds and exchanges are a privilege, not a right, and rules change from store to store.

For more information Visit BBB.org to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam, read tips, or follow us on social media. Look for the BBB seal, The Sign of a Better Business.
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About BBB: BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois is a nonprofit organization that has served both consumers and trustworthy businesses for 96 years and is a part of the IABBB. We help protect consumers from scams and provide a free database for consumers to see business ratings and reviews to find businesses they can trust. We connect customers to businesses they can trust.
The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
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