WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Bursting through the doors and scanning shelves for the best deals can be a rush for a holiday shopper. But rushing in without doing your homework can leave you wishing you stayed home.
"Holidays are great but it's still a time to stay vigilant."
Denise Groene with the Better Business Bureau said holidays are fun but they're also a time when you need to pay attention to exactly what you're doing so you don't fall into a trap or get tricked out of a great deal.
She said while Black Friday isn't a new concept, retailers are often changing how they do their deals. Looking at the fine print, she said, is necessary.
"A lot of what the retailers are doing is that they have a good deal only within a certain hour or time frame," Groene said. "So you don't want to show up at the retailer thinking you're getting that hot deal on the TV to find out that you missed the deal because it was only between two and four."
Often times, those details are written in fine print on ads.
But that's not all. Groene said some stores will only stock a certain number of products on Black Friday. While that's not a new idea, she said as a consumer, you should know so you can focus your shopping.
However, she said racing to the TV that's really cheap isn't necessarily what you want to do unless you know exactly what's in the box.
"Many manufacturers are putting out specific items just for Black Friday. And it's, you know, not as many bells and whistles as it might be if it was any other time of the year," Groene said. "That TV might be a hot deal but is it going to be working in the next year or two years? Because it could be a lower grade compared to what that product typically is."
Groene said when price comparing, make sure you're comparing apples to apples meaning pay attention to the accessories and capabilities of products. One store may have the 65" TV cheaper than another but that could be because it doesn't have some of the features of the more expensive product.
Finally, when out shopping on Black Friday or for the holidays at all, Groene said it's also important to keep the same level of awareness of your personal belongings.
The deals and decorations may make shoppers turn their heads or get distracted and that can be the perfect opportunity for a thief to grab a purse in a cart.
But don't think you're in the clear if you stay away from the stores this holiday shopping season. Groene said scammers are getting more sophisticated at creating fake shopping websites.
"Make sure if you get a pop up or an advertisement on a hot deal that if you're clicking on it and going to their website, make sure you do some homework on that retailer because chances are you're not familiar with that hot deal," Groene said.
Those ads you click on are often taking you to sites that either take your money without sending you a thing or the order has issues. Groene said you may get something you didn't order or you'll get what you ordered but the quality is awful. Or, Groene said, consumers report the website will take more money than what you thought.
She has a simple way to help consumers check those things. If you have a question about a site, you can type it's URL into WhoIs.com and learn about the site. It'll tell you where the site was created and Greone said overseas origins of websites may be a red flag as they're often the fake ones.
She also said to check when the site was created. Even if a site was created in a country you trust, if it was created just a few days prior, it may not be as legitimate as you'd like.