Do your research to avoid holiday shopping sticker shock
Price-matching is normally a given in many major stores, but some are putting a pause on this practice during the height of the holiday shopping crunch. Several of the big chains are posting their exclusions online, but you have to do a little digging to know price-matching isn’t an option.
“You want to make sure you know that ahead of time and you look around in advance before you actually make your purchase to make sure you’re getting the lowest price,” says Kimberly Palmer, with personal finance site Nerdwallet says there are other ways to save. Through sites such as ‘Camel, Camel, Camel’, which tracks prices on amazon and sends price drop alerts…or, you can use apps that help you bargain shop in actual stores. She suggests ‘Shop Savvy’. Palmer explains, “With that app you can actually scan the barcodes of items when you’re in stores and it will tell you if there’s a lower price at another nearby store.”
When you do see a deal, Palmer suggests you take a very close look at the product offered at that low, low price. It may not measure up to what you think you are getting.
“A big concern around the holidays is something we call derivative products. If you have your eye on a specific television, for example, you want to make sure that it’s up to the standard that you’re expecting, and it’s not a cheaper version of what you intended to buy,” Palmer explains.
And if you get home and have a problem with what you bought, don’t feel like you have to march back into the store for customer service, or sit on hold for an eternity. These days, you can tweet or text them!
Palmer says, “Texting is a really good option when you want to complain to a retailer. Ask for a refund. Anything, any reason, you want to reach out… consider text messaging.”
If you tweet, remember not to post private information like an account number, because your tweets are public, unless you’re direct messaging.
Another thing to be careful about—shipping alerts.
“Fraudsters will imitate what looks like a shipping notification to entice you to click on it. But it’s actually sending you to a fraudulent site. It’s going to try to collect your personal information, maybe even your credit card, your bank account information,” Palmer explains.
Look at the sender’s email address to be sure it’s actually from the company.
One final tip from Palmer has to do with rebates. She explains, “Rebates can seem really appealing when you’re in a store. It seems like you’ll automatically get 100 dollars off your purchase, for example. But the tricky thing with rebates is that it often takes a lot of time to actually get that money back in the mail.”