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Monday, November 23, 2015

BUFFALO -- The day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest shopping day of the year and sales have already started. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York urges everyone to shop sure with an approach that will help you not only save money, but protect you from false advertising and deals that may be too good to be true.

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, an estimated 135.8 million shoppers (58.7%) definitely will or may shop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, spending an average of $462.95 on gifts for family members, a survey high.

NRF survey also revealed almost half of holiday shopping (browsing and buying) will be done online. To equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to get the most out of the digital shopping world, BBB released Digital IQ, partnering with Acxiom Corporation, Adobe and Nielsen. Here you can test your online savvy before you shop.

Retailers are already geared up, especially the “big box” stores that sell name brand appliances, housewares, electronics and other popular gift items. Sale flyers, commercials promoting “door buster” deals and online ads promise the best bargains. How much can shoppers save? NRF says items are discounted an average of 24%.

BBB advises shoppers to arm themselves with information, a budget and the ability to resist pressure to buy items they don’t want or need. One-day deals and specials have become the norm rather than the exception, whether shopping online or in a store. If you’ve researched an item ahead of time, you’ll be better able to evaluate deals.

Better Business Bureau offers advice to make your Black Friday shopping experience productive and honest:

  • Learn about advertising tricks and gimmicks. The new BBB #AdTruth campaign highlights bad ads and helps you learn to identify the most common schemes and cons. Check it out at
  • Do your research. Read product reviews, check out for Business Reviews, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, look for early promotions and “flash sales.” For tips on searching online, check out the new BBB Digital IQ project at sure to check return and refund policies before you buy. Although some stores relax their return policies during the holiday season, others may require that returns be made within a few days of purchase. Some only allow returns if a product is defective while others may give store credit instead of cash refunds.
  • Read the fine print. Some stores only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days. Some stores may only allow you to purchase one item, particularly large, popular and/or deeply discounted products.
  • Know the retailer. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for teach savvy scammers to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site.
  • Sign up for email alerts. Many stores release Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive email alerts. Before you click on anything, make sure it’s the real business and not a scammer.
  • Ask for gift receipts and save warranty information. A gift receipt can be tucked into a gift item or card so that the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right. Be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.
  • Report a scam. If you spot a business or offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud, report it through BBB’s Scam Tracker. They will investigate and warn others by reporting your experiences.

East Niagara Post is the official media sponsor of Hockey Day in Lockport.


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