By the Better Business Bureau
Mother’s Day is coming up! A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey shows that families plan to spend more on Mother's Day this year than they have in the past. Flowers, jewelry and special outings are hot items this year, and 84% plan to celebrate, according to the NRF.
Better Business Bureau reminds everyone to exercise caution when shopping online and in stores when spending money.
BBB's annual risk report identifies online purchasing scams as the riskiest. Here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed on Mother's Day gifts:
•Shopping online. Avoid suspicious websites and glossy pop-up ads. Make sure the website has the https:// and the “lock” icon in the URL. Don’t click on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails. Pay with credit card or PayPal. Understand return and refund policies. Read the fine print. BBB has more tips for online shopping.
•Flowers. Since Mother’s Day flower sales are the second-highest sales period for your local florist, it’s important to choose wisely and find someone you can trust with your order. Complaints filed with BBB about florists included flowers being late, wrong, or not delivered. Also, it is not uncommon for local flower shops to be affiliated with third-party entities. BBB advises consumers to confirm that the business they are placing their order with is, in fact, affiliated with that online source. If you are sending flowers to your mother in another city, it is best to check online for a florist in her area. Make sure you have enough time for delivery, ask about all fees associated with your order, and make sure the date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.
√ Read more about buying flowers.
√ BBB conducted research on the florist industry, looking at positive and negative reviews and complaints on BBB.org.
•Electronics. Whether you plan to buy Mom a new phone, tablet or other electronic device, make sure you leave it in the original packaging. Many retailers require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges. Buy from reputable dealers; check their ratings on BBB.org.
•Jewelry. Do your research and consider visiting a jewelry store near you versus buying online. Keep your receipts and read the fine print; ask questions about their return policy. Read more tips on buying and selling jewelry.
•Gift cards and certificates. Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before buying, so that it won’t be a problem. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see that the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping, and not just for in-store use. Make sure the gift card has not been tampered with. Before you buy a gift card, consider these additional tips.
•Guides, tours and classes. Art classes, wine tastings and cooking lessons are fun ways to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it’s important to get the details of these activities in writing. Be sure to clarify total costs and features, if there are reservations needed, if there are any restrictions, special time requirements or cancellation fees.
•Restaurants. Find restaurants near you and read reviews and complaints on BBB.org. Do a search by business name. You can also look up a restaurant’s inspection records online to help you make an educated choice.
If you come across a scam, report it to BBB's Scam Tracker by visiting www.BBB.org/scamtracker.