BBB Holiday Shopping Tips and Tricks

Underscoring its commitment to serving the community, Tarrant County College has partnered with the Better Business Bureau to share some shopping tips with Tarrant County residents.

The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s expected to be a busy shopping season this year. American consumers will plan to spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday shopping season this year, according the National Retail Federation. That’s up 4.1 percent compared to the figure predicted for last year. Low unemployment numbers, higher take-home wages and high consumer confidence are said to be factors in helping boost those numbers.

Last year, nearly 100 million people shopped on Black Friday. If you’re planning to do the same this year, Better Business Bureau has these tips to make your shopping experience productive… and maybe even enjoyable:

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 and BBB Business Profiles, 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 page at

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 advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. Check out to read more about stores or websites unfamiliar to you.

Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive their emails. Just 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.

Shop around. Not all of the best sales or the best prices are in the big box stores. Thousands of small and independent businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday on November 24. Look for the “Shop Small” signs at local businesses for Small Business Saturday specials or visit for a list of participating retailers. For more tips:

Be safe online. Cyber Monday unlocks big savings online, but look for a small lock icon in the URL and an extra ‘s’ for safety (https… the extra “s” is for secure). Watch out for look-alike websites that mimic famous brands but that may be a scam. Use a credit card for online shopping, as it has more fraud protections than a debit card. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and avoid clicking on links in unsolicited email and social media messages. For more tips:

Give wisely. Charitable giving is always high at the holidays when donors are feeling generous. Giving Tuesday on November 27 is all about being generous after the shopping frenzy. Make sure the charity you select will be a good steward of your money. Check out BBB’s for charity reviews. For more tips: