Black Friday 2013 Tips from the BBB

November 27, 2013 (CHICAGO)

If you plan on getting up early and joining millions of other shoppers at your local shopping center, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges you to beware of schemes and do careful research before shopping.

"Every year, people get caught up in the hectic pace of holiday shopping and special deals," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "It is important for consumers to plan ahead by researching stores before shopping, paying with credit cards whenever possible, and keeping all receipts so that recipients won't be disappointed if they decide to return gifted items."

The BBB offers the following tips for Black Friday shoppers:

Research before you shop. If you find a great coupon, be sure to print it and bring it to the store with you. Check out Business Reviews at to make sure you are dealing with a reputable business that will guarantee the sale prices they claim to have. • Be Aware of Return Policies. Knowing the store policies on returns can help you determine where to buy. Many retailers may include restocking fees and shorter return deadlines.

Ask for Gift Receipts. Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item, or risk receiving an exchange at a lower price.

Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true, especially extreme low prices on hard-to-get items. Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a "deal" that might cost them dearly in the end. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Keep purses zipped and close to your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.

Remember there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot. Ask mall security to walk you to your car if you feel you are not safe.

For more advice on safe shopping during this holiday season, visit

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