SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — People looking online for Black Friday deals should do some simple research beforehand.
As online shopping skyrocketed this year, the Better Business Bureau says so has the number of complaints to BBB about online retailers.
More than 53,000 complaints have been logged so far in 2020.
Regional director of the BBB of Springfield, Stephanie Garland has advice for shoppers.
“If the price seems too good to be true it probably is, it’s an oldie but a goody for a reason,” Garland said. “And so just keep that in mind as you’re going forward and making your purchasing decisions. You can also look in the upper lefthand corner most secure websites are going to have this little lock icon they are also going to have “https” that “s” means secure if on the web browser they don’t have either of those things that should be a red flag If you want to go ahead and start purchasing them before you put them in that shopping cart please look what exactly the about us page says on the website a lot of scammers don’t take the time to make a very well built well thought out about us page.”
Garland says you can also look to see if a company is registered with the Better Business Bureau for free.
BBB’s 10 tips for safe online shopping are as follows:
- Protect your computer. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly.
- Check a site’s security settings before entering financial data, such as a credit card number. If the site is secure, the URL (web address) on the payment page should start with “https://.”
- Shop trustworthy websites. Look for BBB Accredited Business seals on websites and click to confirm that they’re valid. BBB’s dynamic seal will take you to a site’s BBB Business Profile. You also may find reviews at bbb.org.
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may display free or low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
- Beware of phishing. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming problems with an order, account, or package to lure the buyer into revealing financial information. If you receive such an email, BBB recommends that you call the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm a problem.
- Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you don’t receive an item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are any unauthorized charges on the card, and many card issuers have zero-liability policies if someone steals and uses your card number. Check your credit card statement regularly for unauthorized charges. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
- Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page of an order or emails confirming the order until you receive the item and are satisfied.
- Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out when the seller intends to ship it and, if possible, how it will be shipped. The tracking number can help you find a lost order. If the order can be picked up contact-free at a brick-and-mortar location, consider this option as well.
- Know your rights. Federal law requires that orders made by phone, mail or online be shipped by the date promised or within 30 days if no delivery time was stated. If goods aren’t shipped on time, shoppers can cancel and demand a refund. Consumers also may reject merchandise if it is defective or was misrepresented.
Check a company’s BBB Business Profile before you make a purchase by going to bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.