The air is getting cooler. Fall is upon us; the season of festivals, camp fires and trick or treating! It is the time of the year where every kid in America is trying to decide what costume to wear for Halloween. The Halloween Industry Association claims Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the USA. According to the Halloween Online Magazine, the Halloween retail industry brought in $2.5 billion in sales and advertising revenue in 2009.
Before you rush out to buy your Lady Gaga look-a-like costume, or Buzz Lightyear gear for your little guy, the BBB suggests you exercise caution. Many Halloween costume stores and Web sites are seasonal. Follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) so you won’t be haunted even after Halloween is over.
- Location, Location. If you're interested in trying a store that's just popped up in your neighborhood or a new online merchant who you’re not familiar with, get the physical location (address and phone number) so you can check out the business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Customer Satisfaction Policy. Determine the company's refund and return policies before you buy. If online companies can’t offer concrete commitments on how they will handle any potential problems you may have with their products or services, reconsider doing business with them.
- Leave Nothing to Chance. Be sure you have a thorough understanding of everything involved before making an order. Be clear on the price and any shipping and handling charges. Know the terms of any product or service guarantees. Find out how long it will be before you receive your order. Federal law requires that goods and services be delivered within 30 days, unless a different delivery period is specifically stated by the merchant.
- Guard Your Personal Information. Only provide your credit card information number online in a secure environment. Look for the prefix https:// . . . in the URL box which lists the Web site’s Web address to be sure that a site you are using is secure.
- Check For Reliability at www.bbb.org Consumers can search for a company by name, phone number and even by Web site.