The holiday shopping season officially kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday, and many Rhode Islanders will be looking for the perfect gift at a great price. Hoping to cash in on the holiday shopping season and close out the year with a profit, many retailers offer shoppers deep discounts and promotions, particularly on big ticket items. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is reminding holiday shoppers to do research and ask questions before making a purchase, to ensure you don't get more than you bargained for.
"In this tough economy, everyone is looking to stretch a dollar and find the best deal possible. It's important to do your homework, read the fine print, and understand store policies before you buy, so that you are not hit with hidden fees and charges," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Attorney General Kilmartin offers the following tips to consumers to get the best experience and value from their holiday season shopping:
Bring ads with you while shopping to be sure prices charged match advertised prices.
Before making a purchase, ask if the store charges a restocking fee, and if so, how much. Some stores will charge a fee for "restocking" an item that you return for a refund or credit.
Businesses that charge a restocking fee are supposed to disclose the fee. The notice should be clearly visible to consumers before purchases are made.
Before making a purchase, ask what the return policy is. Return policies vary.
Refund policies must be posted at the point of display, at the cash register or at the store entrance.
When checking out, watch the cash register display to be sure the scanned price matches the posted or advertised price.
Check your receipt for accuracy before leaving the store.
Ask for a refund if you have been overcharged.
For more tips to protect consumers this holiday season, please visit www.riag.ri.gov.
If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud or abuse, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit by calling 401-274-4400.