Retailers will try to out-do each other with deals to lure cost-conscious shoppers who are still watching their wallets. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is reminding holiday shoppers to do research and ask questions before making a purchase to ensure they get the best value.
“The holidays are a time of giving, but dealing with hidden fees or unauthorized charges can really put a damper on the holiday spirit,” said Kilmartin. “By being proactive and alert, consumers can get a head start on one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions: to save money.”
To help keep consumers merry and their finances bright, Kilmartin offers the following tips:
Bring ads with you while shopping to be sure prices charged match advertised prices.
Before making a purchase, ask if the store charges a restocking fee and, if so, how much. Some stores will charge a restocking fee for “restocking” an item that you return for a refund or credit.
Businesses that charge a restocking fee are supposed to disclose the fee. The notice should be clearly visible to consumers before purchases are made.
Before making a purchase, ask what the return policy is. Return policies vary.
Refund policies must be posted at the point of display, at the cash register or at the store entrance.
When checking out, watch the cash register display to be sure the scanned price matches the posted price.
Check your receipt for accuracy before leaving the store.
Ask for a refund if you have been overcharged.
Check your credit card and bank statements often. By the time you receive your credit card bill or bank statement in January, a thief may have already made unauthorized charges.
If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Department of Rhode Island Attorney General at 274-4400. You can download a consumer complaint by visiting ww.riag.ri.gov. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.