Tips to protect shoppers this holiday season - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tips to protect shoppers this holiday season

MISSOURI (KFVS) -

The busy shopping season has arrived and Missouri’s Attorney General has some tips to help consumers protect themselves.

  • Bring paper or electronic copies of special advertising By bringing a copy of the special holiday deal to the store with you, it will be easier for you to verify that you are getting the price that the store advertised.
  • Research Merchants before you shop You can find out how long it has been in business and you can also look into its customer service track record. You can use the Attorney General's online "Know Mo" portal to check for complaints against specific businesses.
  • Make sure you understand return and exchange policies Attorney General Christ Koster encourages shoppers to read the fine print so you are aware of any restocking fees or deals with limited return or exchange windows. Shoppers should hold on to documentation of purchases and always ask for gift receipts because that protects the recipient from being denied the ability to return or exchange items at the full value the buyer paid for it. When shopping online, make sure to hold on to a copy of the final confirmation.
  • Be aware of sales advertised only for certain days or hours in the day
  • Be on the lookout for bait-and-switch tactics These advertisements aim to draw you in, then push you toward more expensive items. Shoppers should insist that retailers honor advertised deals and products.
  • Make purchases with a credit card Koster said using a debit card online puts you in potential financial danger since your debit card is linked directly to your personal account. With a credit card, you can only spend a specific amount that has to be approved. If your credit card is used to make a fraudulent purchase without your permission, you can inform the credit card company and potentially have the payment cancelled.

Koster said online shoppers should take precautions to ensure your transactions are secure. Only shop with online retailers you know and trust. Before you enter your credit card information, make sure that an "https" precedes the website in your browser address bar. The 's' indicates use of a more secure protocol. Most browsers will display a locked padlock icon when you are on a secure site.

If you suspect deceptive advertising or other unfair business practices, you should contact the Attorney General's Consumer protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online.

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