Holiday shopping tips
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs offers the following holiday shopping tips:
Make a shopping list. Watch for sale flyers and keep track of prices.
Check store refund and return policies.
Be careful buying an item that offers a mail-in rebate. While the price for the item, including the rebate, may be a good one, consumers need to read the terms of the rebate carefully. Most offers require you to cut the UPC code off of the box, which may be difficult to do if the item is a gift.
Know with whom you are dealing. If you are shopping by catalog, phone or online, confirm an address and phone number to contact if you have questions or problems. Check delivery dates and shipping and handling fees.
Buy “safer” toys. With millions of toys being recalled, consumers should ask if the manufacturer of that toy has had any recalls. Some retailers are placing safety boards in their stores with the latest product safety recalls.
Supervise children at all times. If you feel you will be distracted by children while shopping, make arrangements for a babysitter. Older children should take a friend with them when going shopping.
Keep shopping bags, purses and wallets close to you.
Have your keys in your free hand when approaching your car and return to your vehicle frequently to unload purchases into the trunk, and then move your car to another parking space.
Be prepared for broken items, wrong sizes and duplicate gifts. Always save shopping receipts for 90 days after your purchase.
Check your accounts daily for any activity you did not initiate and read all monthly account statements for errors.
Are you still paying for gifts in January, February or beyond? Work out a budget and stick to it.
Think outside the gift box. Plenty of alternatives are less expensive and more fun. Have family gift exchanges where you purchase only one gift or make and exchange homemade items or be creative by giving coupons for shoveling a driveway or another chore.
For more information, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at (330) 643-2879.