Mother's Day shopping tips, hidden resort fees

May 14, 2013 9:03:36 AM PDT
Steve J. Bernas, President & CEO of the Better Business Bureau, has tips for Mother's Day shopping and avoiding hidden resort fees.

(Release) Be A Smart Shopper For Mother's Day

Chicago, IL - May 2, 2013 - Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, is fast approaching. If you are planning on buying a gift, you should make sure to read the "fine print" that can prevent potential misunderstandings as we honor the 85.4 million mothers in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) reminds consumers it's important to be a smart shopper when selecting a gift for Mom.

"Picking out a gift carefully is important. It is not uncommon that consumers find themselves in trouble when not all questions have been asked and answered about a product or service." said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Let this be the year you give a carefree gift to Mom." The BBB offers the following shopping tips for Mother's Day gifts:

Gift Cards and Certificates: Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase to ensure that the expiration date and conditions won't be a problem. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping and not just for in-store use. Make certain on a gift card that the security number hasn't been revealed prior to purchase.

Electronics: Whether you plan to buy Mom an iPhone, laptop or other electronic device, be sure that you don't remove it from the box before wrapping it up. Many electronics stores require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges.

Clothing or Handbags: If you are planning to purchase clothing or a handbag for Mom, make sure you get a gift receipt in case she decides to return the item.

Cosmetics: If you are interested in purchasing cosmetics or fragrance, speak to the store about their return policy and keep the receipt. If she tries the product and is not satisfied, make sure to be aware of the store's open item policy.

Guides, Tours and Classes: Yoga, wine tasting and cooking lessons are a fun way to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it's important to get details about these classes and adventures in writing and in advance of the trip. Be sure to clarify all of the factors listed below:

? Are reservations required and if so, by when?

? What are the total costs and features?

? What services and equipment are included?

? Are taxes or any other charges added?

? Are there any restrictions or special time requirements?

? Are there any cancellation or refund penalties or policies?

For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org http://www.bbb.org/

(Release) The Better Business Bureau Warns Consumers About Hidden Resort Fees

Chicago, IL - May 8, 2013 - Bargain hunting for that perfect vacation can potentially result in a bargain disaster if the appropriate measures are not taken. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois advises consumers to investigate and compare vacation plans closely and ask questions about extra fees that could significantly impact travel arrangements.

Some airlines have been known for adding fees for just about everything from luggage to online ticket ordering. Resort fees often are more discreet fees that you could be fooled into paying at the end of your stay. These fees can be included in your bill for a variety of amenities including internet access, gym usage, and access to the safe. The pricing increases consumers run into is they haven't read the terms and conditions of the vacation package.

"Reading the fine print and asking questions is vital when making travel arrangements." said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Hidden fees could significantly impact your final bill when checking out and be real budget busters."

Fees for various amenities can range from $10 to $30 per day and are not always included in the checkout price on online booking sites. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) describes resort fees as being a part of "drip pricing", a business model in which firms advertise only part of a price and reveal other charges later in the billing process. Drip pricing is a common business model used in different types of firms including financial institutions and rental car companies.

The FTC has sent a warning letter to 22 hotel operators, informing them that they may be involving themselves in deceptive advertising by not informing consumers of additional fees when they are quoting a price.

The BBB offers some advice for consumers to avoid undisclosed fees:

? Carefully read the fine print. Review the terms and conditions of a hotel before your stay and before providing a credit card number, in order to discover additional fees that may be added to your stay.

? Ask questions. If you are unsure of something you read in the fine print, make sure you contact the hotel with questions and concerns beforehand.

? Discuss the questions and concerns you had at check-in. Verify the total cost again at check-in. It is much easier to discuss potential charges before it goes on your credit card. If you run into problems with your resort, you may file a complaint at www.bbb.org.

The Better Business Bureau Warns Consumers About Hidden Resort Fees

The BBB offers some advice for consumers to avoid undisclosed fees:

? Carefully read the fine print. Review the terms and conditions of a hotel before your stay and before providing a credit card number, in order to discover additional fees that may be added to your stay.

? Ask questions. If you are unsure of something you read in the fine print, make sure you contact the hotel with questions and concerns beforehand.

? Discuss the questions and concerns you had at check-in. Verify the total cost again at check-in. It is much easier to discuss potential charges before it goes on your credit card.

If you run into problems with your resort, you may file a complaint at www.bbb.org http://www.bbb.org/.


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