August is the time for fairs and festivals. With many of these come cotton candy, fried foods, rides and out-of-town vendors and sellers. If you're thinking of making a purchase at the Erie County Fair or other county fair, at an arts and crafts event, the New York State Fair or other festival, Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York wants consumers to consider these tips before your buy.
Check out the company's BBB Business Review at bbb.org. If you have a smartphone, you can access these reviews through a mobile website, m.bbb.org or via an iPhone app, available free at the iTunes store.
Before buying, know the company's refund and exchange policy. Get the policy in writing, if possible.
Know where the company is located. Obtain the company's physical location and telephone number, in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.
If at all possible, shop around first. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value. If you are making a large purchase, don't be afraid to leave the fairgrounds to do some research.
Don't be pressured to buy on the spot. After the demonstration or sales pitch, walk away from the sales person to give yourself some time to think about the purchase.
Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the fair or event. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item "on the spot."
Know the limits of the "cooling-off rule." It's important to note the FTC's "cooling-off rule," which allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs: purchases under $25; 2) insurance, securities or real estate; 3) motor vehicles; and 4) arts and crafts.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust.