The holiday season is here, and shoppers want to score a deal. You may see social media ads or emails from unfamiliar websites and brands, but they have items that check boxes on your gift lists. You click on the ad, and you’re taken to a website you’ve never heard of before, then you are redirected to another page.
Before you click and fill your cart, BBB has a few reminders:
Look for the BBB Seal. Check if the businesses you want to shop from are BBB Accredited. If a business has a BBB Accreditation, it shows consumers that the business prioritizes trust in the marketplace and adds a layer of confidence and peace of mind for all consumers. When shopping online, look for the BBB Seal, the Sign of a Better Business.
Is the retailer based in North America? Does it have a local presence? We know several online retailers operate overseas. Before you place an order, make sure to check where the package originates, the time frames for delivery, and return policies.
Are there extra fees such as for returns, shipping, etc.? Are you comfortable paying those fees, and if you must make a return, is there a fee associated with it?
Check the website and social media of the retailer. Does the website have contact information, an address, and a return policy? Head over to the social media pages. Are there comments? Is the page new? Are the comments a little too “nice” and not negative? If there are negative comments, is the retailer responding?
Check the privacy policy and make sure you are comfortable with how the website uses your personal information. If there is no visible privacy policy, that is a red flag, and you should consider other options.
After you do your due diligence, you will be able to decide if shopping at an unfamiliar website is right for you. You can also ask your local BBB for assistance and check customer reviews to help you choose trustworthy businesses.

For more information

Before shopping online, review the BBB online shopping page and read the BBB Tip: Smart Shopping Online.

When possible, do business with a BBB Accredited Business. Read more about BBB Accreditation Standards and BBB Standards for Trust.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at http://www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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