WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- With the holiday shopping season upon us, the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection is offering tips to make it a little less stressful.
"No matter the price of a gift purchase, it's important that people make informed purchases," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "By following these suggested best practices, shoppers can make life easier on themselves whether they are shopping in a local store or using the internet."
Some of those “best practices” are:
- Comparison shop for the best price; find out all you can about an item before you purchase it. Know the refund policy of the merchant you are buying from. In a retail store, the refund policy must be posted at the point of sale.
- If an advertised sale item is not available, ask for a rain check; you're entitled to it.
- When making purchases, keep your receipts together and organized. Quickly retrieve your credit cards after using them and use the newly encrypted "chip" credit cards. The chip inside the card provides additional protections against credit card fraud. Always remember that the credit card company can help you when you have a dispute with a merchant. Find out the warranty information about a product before you purchase it. It varies from product to product. Sometimes warranties are offered by the merchant as well as by the manufacturer and your credit card company.
- Online shopping? This year, more than half of all holiday shopping will be done online. Shop with companies you know or who have provided good service to people you know. Use secure web sites that begin with https:// rather than just http://. Be sure to review the website's privacy and security information. Does the website have a customer service phone number besides an e-mail address?
- Don't wait until the last minute to make an online purchase. Understand what costs are associated with shipping and handling. Confirm delivery dates with merchants, but remember factors outside the control of the merchant can affect delivery times.
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