Category: BBB Column

Holiday Returns and Exchanges

By Jason Meza Regional Director Better Business Bureau 13750 San Pedro Ave, Suite 400 San Antonio, Tx. 78232 p: 210.260.9843 bbb.org Start With Trust® When we think “holidays,” we picture family and friends gathered around a fire, giving and opening perfect gifts that were hand-picked with care. But sometimes those perfect gifts are less than perfect. Maybe grandma gave you a sweater that doesn’t fit. Did your best friend’s husband give you a book on the Civil War, even though you told him two months ago you find history boring? For retailers, the holiday shopping season often goes into early or mid-January, due to consumers returning and exchanging gifts they received during the holidays. However, stores aren’t legally required to offer refunds or exchanges, which can complicate the process. Better Business Bureau has some helpful tips to navigate returns and exchanges: Get to know store policies. Make sure to familiarize yourself with a store’s return and exchange policies when doing your holiday shopping. You should also ask if their policies change during the holiday season. Understand that sale items are often ineligible for returns. You can typically find the store’s policy at the checkout counter or printed on the back of the receipt. If you’re unclear on anything, you can ask an employee for the full return and exchange policy. Understand online policies. Find and read a seller’s return...

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Holiday Travel Tips “Take the stress out of Holiday travel”

Consumers are preparing for one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Many are planning to visit family during the holidays, others take annual trips around this time. Some may feel the need to just escape for a bit, while thrifty travelers take advantage of holiday deals to plan vacations months in advance. Traveling can be stressful, from planning to staying safe while on vacation. Stress only seems to increase during the holiday season; fortunately, your Better Business Bureau has tips to keep your holiday travels sailing smoothly. Plan ahead for best deals. Give yourself enough time to research flights, hotels and the area you’ll be visiting. Not only does planning cut down on stress, but typically, the earlier you make reservations, the better deals you can find. Watch for scams. Be cautious of calls or letters informing you that you’ve won a vacation, or advertising trips at prices that seem too good to be true. You should also avoid using broad terms when searching the internet. Phrases like “best travel deals” can take you to questionable websites designed to scam consumers. Do your research. If you’re looking for a travel site or agent, ask family and friends for recommendations. You can also check business profiles on bbb.org to read customer reviews and complaint histories. Get details in writing. You should have the details of your trip in...

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Common Holiday Scams

The holiday season has officially begun, and the average consumer has a lot to do: shop for gifts, prepare for family, make travel arrangements, plan holiday meals and more. Unfortunately, this is also a busy season for scammers looking to steal your money or personal information. With your mind on finding the perfect gifts and best deals, they hope you won’t be watching for fraud. Better Business Bureau is here to remind you of common holiday scams to help you stay sharp this season. Many companies and industries hire extra employees during the holidays to help with increased business. This is a perfect opportunity for scammers to put out fake help wanted ads. Use these tips to stay safe while looking for seasonal job opportunities: Know the signs. Being aware of the red flags of employment scams can help you avoid them. Employers asking for upfront payment for a job, job offers without interviews and big money for small jobs are all major signs of employment scams. Don’t work before you’re hired.A legitimate company will not ask you to begin a project before hiring you. Before starting any work, ask for an offer letter or for confirmation in writing. This should include details about the job and compensation. Each year, a few toys are more popular than the rest, and when they begin to sell out in stores, parents...

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Avoiding Advance Fee Loan Scams this Holiday

November is here and South Texas consumers have started preparing for the holidays. The season is known for shopping, and as people travel to see family and attempt to find the perfect gifts for loved ones,it can be easy to find yourself strapped for cash around this time of year. With so many spending opportunities, it might be tempting to take out a small loan to help ease some financial strain but be on the lookout for advance fee loan scams. If this is the first time you’re hearing of this kind of scam, it works like this:You receive communication (this could be a phone call, email, flyer or online ad) offering a great deal on a loan. They may even promise a guaranteed low interest rate or tell you you’ve qualified for a special program. The deal is, you must pay an upfront fee for processing or insurance. Once you pay the fee, the lender, and your money, disappear. More than 100 advance fee loan scams were reported to BBB Scam Tracker across Texas in 2018, with claimed losses ranging from $25 to $7,000. This scam is also aimed at small businesses needing startup capital or funds to scale their operation. So, what can you do to keep yourself safe? Follow these tips from your Better Business Bureau: Watch for vague fees. It is not uncommon to charge...

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Who’s More at Risk for a Scam?

Approximately one in 10 U.S. adults are victims of fraud every year and South Texas is no stranger to victims of scams. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 372,000 fraud complaints. With fraud being such a common issue, it becomes easy to wonder, “What separates victims from non-victims?” There isn’t a superior kind of person that is immune to scams, and even those who consider themselves savvy can find themselves a victim if they aren’t careful and informed. Better Business Bureau partnered with FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation to survey more than 1,000 American and Canadian consumers...

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