Connecticut Better Business Bureau Offers Tips on "Shopping Smart" for the Holidays

Consumer education can prevent post-holiday headaches.

Wallingford, CT, December 10, 2008 --( Connecticut Better Business Bureau is urging holiday shoppers to think before they buy.

According to Connecticut BBB President, Paulette Hotton Scarpetti, smart shopping is essential for all consumers, especially those on tight budgets.

“People should think before they buy, and arm themselves with all of the pertinent information they will need to prevent any unpleasant surprises when the holidays are over.”

Your Better Business Bureau has the following tips for holiday shoppers:

Making a budget is essential. Ensuring it is realistic is even more important. Include the cost of holiday cards, stamps, entertaining and clothing, and keep a running total to help you stay within your budget.

Comparison shopping:
If an item is worth buying, it is also worth the time to look for the lowest price. Some ads claim the “lowest price,” but BBB investigations show many companies making this claim do not have the lowest price on every item every day.

Getting a real deal:
How do you know when a sale is really a sale?

If a company boasts “70 percent off,” the question for shoppers is 70 percent off what?

Don’t rely on lowest price claims from retailers that are going out business. Check the price of an item at another store before making a commitment to buy.

Return policies and refunds:
Companies are not required to give you your money back, so ask for stores’ return policies before you buy. These are often posted prominently at the cashier. Most stores require a receipt for a refund or exchange, so ask for gift receipts and keep them taped to the inside of gift boxes to make returns easier for family and friends.

Restocking fees:
Some stores charge a restocking fee if a product is returned, to cover the loss of revenue if they can no longer sell an item as new. After doing your comparison shopping, ask about the store’s restocking fees.

Start With Trust:
If you are shopping at a company for the first time, take a moment to check the company’s Reliability Report at, or contact Connecticut BBB at 203-269-2700.

Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103
94 South Turnpike Rd
Wallingford, CT 06492