Scary Halloween traps warns BBB

Need to be wary of seasonal store policies, potential scams

Haunted houses are not the only scary traps to avoid this Halloween.

The Better Business Bureau points out only Christmas ranks higher in retail spending but with much of Halloween shopping being done on line consumers need to be wary of policies from seasonal stores and potential scams.

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"There are number of seasonal stores that pop up this time of year," said Evan Kelly, senior communications advisor for the regional BBB in a news release. "They may have some strict return policies that need to be aware of. Remember, there are no rules governing return policies in BC. We would simply expect the stores to follow their policies to a T."

Tips in dealing with pop-up stores include:

• Ask how long the store will be open.

• See if it has a website in case you need to contact it later.

• Inquire about the return policy in detail.

• Save every receipt.

• Use a credit card so you can dispute problems with the card's issuer.

• Understand that many purchases from these stores may be considered final sale.

• Some recommend shopping nearer Halloween. Retailers may lower prices on candy, costumes and decorations to move them out.

• Check to review business profiles.

• And remember, buying a bunch of stuff with the intent of simply returning it after Oct. 31 is considered fraud.

Tips for ordering online:

• The cheapest deal isn't always the best deal.

• Make sure the website is secure, encrypted and reputable.

• Order well in advance so you get your product early.

• Read reviews and comments before using the site.

• Always shop with a credit card.

• Avoid downloading Halloween-related links for special offers. (Last year an offer of Halloween cut-outs unloaded a Trojan virus to unsuspecting users.)

• Avoid click-bait social media pop-up ads as you might end up giving away personal information.

• If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

Also be aware of fake event tickets for Halloween parties, haunted houses and even pumpkin patch events. The BBB advises purchasers to buy tickets from legitimate sellers, avoid buying resold tickets online, do not wire money to someone you have never met and, if you download tickets online, make sure the details on the ticket match up to those of the event.

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