CLEARWATER - It’s the busiest shopping time of the year and consumers need to be prepared. Pinellas County Office of Consumer Protection offers the following tips:
Ready, set, shop
• Use comparison shopping apps and take advantage of online sales.
• Whether shopping in-store or online, only deal with reputable sellers. Check out a seller’s reviews, complaint history and overall ratings before purchasing.
• Read all of the terms and conditions before making a purchase. Print and save all records.
Exchanges and refunds
• Stores establish their own refund or exchange policies. Consumers should find out what each store’s policy is before making purchases. If no refund/exchange policy is offered, then it must be posted at the point of sale.
• Stores may require a receipt, be sure to ask for a gift receipt. Be aware that some retailers charge a restocking fee on returns.
Don’t get scammed
• Scammers and thieves are not shopping for gifts. Be sure to keep tabs on debit and credit cards and cover the keypad when entering a PIN.
• Don’t give out personal information, unless it is known how the information will be used.