Store policies: Check out the rules for refunds, returns, exchanges and restocking fees. And if you want to put an item on layaway, read the fine print. Store employees may know some of these, but some are temporary for the holidays and with Black Friday, they have a lot on their plate already.
Is it really 75% off? Always double check prices before you buy. Some prices may be inflated, and then come with a discount only to trick buyers. If you see a great deal – check it out, perhaps on your smart phone right in the store.
Bring the ads If you have the ads with you, you’ll be able to show the retailer if a price in-store doesn’t match what was advertised. Ads from other stores can also help you if a store has a price-match guarantee.
Use a credit card Really? Yes, really. There are more consumer protections associated with credit cards covering everything from identity theft to extended warranties. Cash and debit don’t offer these. But make sure you’re not spending more than you can afford to pay.
If you’re shopping online…
Stranger Danger Before making purchases on a site you’re not familiar with, check them out with the Better Business Bureau, ask others about the store and use common sense.
Be leery of stores with long URLs or ones that don’t end in .com or .co. It’s better to pay a little more than get scammed.
Security Shop with stores which have a URL starting with “HTTPS://.” This indicates they’re secure, like a lock that keeps your identity and money safe.
Good luck out there.
WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.