Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on November 20th, 2012,
by Zane Cagle

Black Friday Deals—The Best Option in St. Louis, Missouri?

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by Zane Cagle

Better Business Bureau advises shoppers to beware of Black Friday shopping deals in St. Louis, Missouri. I received an informational email from the BBB just today and thought….”Awesome, another thing I have to deal with over the holidays!”……………. As if over a month of extended family (and all issues that involves), travel (with the kids), being constantly festive (heaven forbid you become worn out after a month), and tapping out of your budget (who has an extensive Christmas budget this year?)– but I have to worry about fraudulent attempts to get my personal and financial information?

“As the Christmas seasonal shopping launches Thanksgiving night for many stores including huge sales and teasers, the BBB encourages shoppers to closely consider their budgets and needs before jumping into the sale frenzy. Black Friday advertisements have been running for several weeks and it is important for retailers to really do well during this economic recession………………but many of us are having to carefully shop for the best deals as our budgets have shrunk.

Either you look forward to the Black Friday sales and relish the frantic shopping, or you are like me…………….the further away form a mall I can get, the happier I am. I am a power shopper and try to knock out my Christmas shopping in an afternoon. Retailers love to see me coming because I purchase in haste in order to cross it off of my list. This is not the best approach when we are all trying to tighten our belts in the money crunch of the economic recession. So, I’m going to attempt to do things a little differently this year and online shopping is one way I’m going to do it. I can do this in the comfort of my couch or late at night on my iPad while the wife and kids are asleep!

We all experience the pressure to buy under a timeline, one-day deals and specials can seem overwhelming. “Some Black Friday deals may look good on the surface, but quantities may be extremely limited or the size of the discount greatly exaggerated,” said Michelle Cory, BBB President and CEO. “By checking prices at several retailers and reading advertisements carefully, consumers can make an educated decision on whether it’s worthwhile to stand in line or miss a good night’s sleep.”

The BBB recommends that you obtain and keep all receipts for all purchases. Most retailers will provide a gift receipt so that you may enclose it in the gift and the receiver can exchange or return. These gift receipts often do not have the amount of the purchase on the gift receipt but allows the shopper to return the gift for a full refund. Check out the return and exchange policy. During big sales, some stores only allow return with receipt for a store credit and some stores only allow a return or exchange if the product is defective.

Check the store’s policy on shipping. Sometimes it is far less hassle to buy a product from the company’s website and have it shipped. Check to see if shipping is included and when the item will arrive. I know….I love shopping online! I can do so from the comfort of my couch and never have to venture out to the stores, frantic shoppers and irritable people. Have you been to a toy store in the weeks before Christmas!?! Parents and grandparents frantically trying to find the right game….they will shove you aside and run over you in a dash for the limited quantity! While I love online shopping, the BBB recommends that you be wary about giving out personal information on websites. The BBB recommends that you observe some simple rules for the holidays and I recommend that you observe these year round in order to protect your personal credit information and identification:

  1. Protect your personal information. Check to see how your information may be used online. When shopping at stores, keep y our card out of sight and make sure you get it returned to you safely into your wallet before leaving.
  2. Check the site’s security settings and privacy policy. If the site is secure, its address should start with https://. You also should see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand of your screen.
  3. Know the company’s refund and return policy. Are there restocking fees? Do you have to pay shipping costs on returns?
  4. Do not rely on pictures of a product. Read the descriptions and check the model numbers, if applicable
  5. Pay with a credit card. If you suspect fraud or don’t receive the item before the holidays, you can challenge the charge with your credit card company in the event of a dispute
  6. Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out how and when it will be shipped. Tracking numbers allow you to monitor its progress through the shipping process
  7. Be cautious of free or very-low-priced offers. Often free offers are followed by an open-ended enrollment in a program that automatically bills your credit card account. Before ordering anything online, make sure you click on and read all terms and conditions. Beware, many sites have a box already checked to send you electronic notices of all sales and updates and unless you ‘unclick’ that box, your email may become stuffed with daily promotional emails. If it is a store in which your frequently shop, that is great. But nothing makes you into a Scrooge faster than having to delete 100’s of promotional emails every day.
  8. Print out the order or save it onto your computer. Be sure you have the order documentation page for online orders and save it until the order arrives. Often, companies will send a confirmation email, but you cannot assume that they will.
  9. Be aware of phishing. Don’t respond to emails that ask for your credit card number or bank account number or other personal information. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming there is a problem with an order or account to lure you into revealing financial information. Call the company or find the customer service form on the company website to confirm any problem.

Unethical people always lurk out there to steal your personal and financial information and often you do not know it until you receive a credit card bill that is staggering—this is not a good place to find yourself. Credit card companies can be good about sending warning emails to track the traffic on your card. Often, you need to call the credit card company to advise them if you are making a big purchase. “Phishing” companies and groups rely on the busy and hectic time of the Christmas shopping season for you or your credit card company to be lacked and not vigilant about your charges. As in any other season, watch your spending closely and save all documentation.

If you are curious about the credibility of a store, check out the BBB Business Review. Reputable companies work with the BBB to maintain quality credibility and most companies seek to offer their customers top quality service. Unfortunately, it only takes one slip up to send your credit history and personal identification into a tailspin. No one wants to deal with such a disaster during the holidays or any other time of the year.

At The Cagle Law Firm, we do represent victims with serious injuries brought about through the negligence of others such as in car accidents, motorcycle accidents and truck accidents. Also, we represent many clients of defective products. For a complete list of our practice areas, please visit AllInjuryAttorney.com. Our free iPhone and Droid application, Injury Attorney, on iTunes is helpful in case you are ever in an accident.

If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident and you wonder if you need legal representation, you can be confident that our consultations are always free. We are available seven days a week to answer your questions. We know that information is power and you should take advantage to gather as much information as possible following an accident. Call Zane T. Cagle at (314) 276-1681.

We welcome your comments about Black Friday shopping deals/sales!