Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
If you’re planning to get festive with your Christmas or other holiday decorations, keep your eyes open for this scam. BBB Scam Tracker has received complaints about false advertisements and phony promises for holiday decor.
How the scam works
You are searching for some holiday decorations for your home or lawn. You come across the perfect item through a social media ad or a search result. The photos on the website look great! The decorations are larger-than-life with incredible lights and features and, best of all, low prices.
You make your payment and wait for the decorations to arrive. However, when your package is delivered, the product is nothing like what you saw online. In many cases, it’s a poorly manufactured miniature version of what you thought you bought. You now don't have a way to return the items or receive a refund. In fact, you probably won’t even be able to contact the company.
One consumer reported the following experience: “I ordered a giant 7-foot pumpkin head and giant 7-foot skeleton with LED eyes and sounds. What I finally got in the mail after almost a month was two rubber 7-inch dolls that sort of looked like what they were advertising. This company will not reply to their emails, which is the only means of communicating. The items looked amazing online, but the store is a total scam.”
How to avoid holiday décor scams
Do your research before you buy. Before you make a purchase on an unfamiliar website, check out the company. Make sure they have working contact information. This should include a telephone number, email address, and, preferably, a physical address. Look on other websites for reviews of the company and reports of scams. You can always look for business ratings and customer reviews on BBB.org.
Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Keep in mind that large decorations that involve special lights and technology are expensive. If you find something amazing for cheap, it could be a scam.
Don’t make quick purchases on social media. Scam advertisers can track your buying habits from social media ads and then target you with specific products they think you’ll fall for. Don’t buy anything on impulse while scrolling through your feed. Do research first to avoid getting scammed.
Always use your credit card for online purchases. Credit card companies allow you to dispute fraudulent charges, a resource you may not have at your disposal if you purchase an item with a debit or gift card.
FOR MORE INFORMATION – Review the BBB Tip: Shop Safe and Shop Smart this Holiday Season at www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/23348-shop-safe for more ways to protect yourself from scams while holiday shopping. If you spot a scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others recognize a scam before they fall victim.
FOR BBB INFORMATION – Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Straight Talk: Don't fall for holiday decorations scam