Black Friday, traditionally the single busiest shopping day, seems to arrive earlier every year, with many stores already advertising Black Friday prices throughout November.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck this holiday season. This year, B.C. residents will spend an average of $860 on holiday purchases, according to the latest report by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC). Economic concerns, including inflation and rising living costs, are driving 88 per cent of Canadians to adopt proactive holiday shopping tactics. This includes looking for sales (52 per cent), preparing in advance (41 per cent) and sticking to a precise budget (40 per cent).
"With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, and inflation continually nibbling away at our budgets, it's time to be extra savvy with our shopping," said BBB spokesperson Aaron Guillen."With a few smart shopping moves, you can not only protect your wallet, but also bring joy to your loved ones' faces with the perfect gift for them this holiday season."
Top five tips for Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping
Work with trustworthy businesses
- The best way to avoid losing money during hard economic times is by making sure you're doing your research before you make your purchase. BBB.org is a vital resource to ensure you find the Sign of a Better Business and avoid falling for scams, fraud, and unprofessional business owners.
Know the return policies
- Whether you're shopping online or at physical stores, be aware that return policies can change during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Always read the fine print before making a purchase. Some items labeled as "final sale" or "closeout" may not be returnable, so familiarize yourself with the return or exchange policy for the specific item you plan to buy. If it's a gift, ensure you can get a gift receipt, but be certain it's returnable. Be cautious of seemingly massive percentage discounts, as the original prices may be inflated. Scrutinize price tags, terms, and conditions.
Price check and price match
- Do your due diligence by comparing prices from various online retailers. The best deal isn't always the real deal. Some stores offer price matches to secure your business. Make sure you know the average market price for an item.
Watch out for misleading or false advertising
- If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be vigilant for false advertising and double-check the website's legitimacy. Scammers create lookalike sites to deceive shoppers. Ensure the website has the correct business name spelling, legitimate contact information, and customer service numbers.
Use secure and traceable transaction methods
- When shopping online, it's safer to use a credit card, as most financial institutions will allow you to dispute charges with your credit card company if issues arise. Debit cards don't provide the same level of protection. Avoid making purchases with prepaid debit cards, e-transfers, or wiring money to online sellers.
For more information on holiday tips, you can visit the Better Business Bureau's website.