School starts up soon, and students and parents are busy getting ready for the first day. Better Business Bureau's Veronica Craker offers tips for those hitting the sales.
- Create a shopping list and a budget
- Search online and do price comparisons beforehand to know what to expect in stores.
- Make sure to look around for any leftover supplies, and “shop at home” so you don’t buy anything unnecessary.
- Be on the prowl for coupons: Sign up for email alerts, coupon apps, and apps from your favorite stores.
- If you’re making a large purchase, like electronics or a dorm refrigerator, do a lot of research on features beforehand so you know exactly what you need.
- Read the return policy twice just in case you need to take something back.
- Make sure to keep all original packaging and receipts.
Craker says BBB receives complaints about social media ads and items or services not being what they expected. She offers more tips for shopping online.
- Whenever you see an ad, look at the fine print for restrictions and dates.
- Be wary of coupons you see online and receive through unsolicited emails.
- Don’t click on pop-ups and watch out for ads that lead to phishing websites.
- It’s better to visit a business’ website directly by locating it through an Internet search or its BBB Business Profile than by clicking on an ad. If an ad is from a retailer you’re unfamiliar with, look them up at www.bbb.org.
- Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Craker says parents should also be aware of child identity theft through form fraud.
"Back to school shopping involves filling out forms for supplies, books, enrollment – you name it. While we can sometimes go into auto-pilot mode when filling out information, be careful what information you provide and to whom you provide it to. Keep a copy of the forms you turn in that have sensitive information, including your child’s birthday, address, and Social Security Number. If you are throwing a paper away that has this information, make sure to shred it first," Craker said.
For more tips visit www.bbb.org.