Fair season is here and Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington provides fair shopping strategies:
Tickets and deals: Visit the official fair website before it begins to check for pre-event ticket promotions and see if there will be special events or discounts on specific days. Be cautious when purchasing tickets from third parties not recommended by the fair.
Bring cash: Some vendors may only accept cash. Avoid ATM surcharges and lines by planning ahead.
Shop around: Don't be pressured by aggressive sales pitches, multiple vendors may have the product. Genuine solicitors will appreciate your business when you're ready.
Small purchases: Inspect the item thoroughly for quality. Remember that it is difficult to return most fair-bought items.
- Ask for contact information. Grab a business card and get the representative's name, business name, address, phone number, and if available, a website.
- Check out a business. Instead of making big purchases at the fair, get the information and research it at home. If it's is a fair-only promotion, consumers can use phones with internet accessibility to research the business online. Visit www.bbb.org for a free BBB Reliability Report and visit the business website.
- Understand contracts. If signing, read it to be sure all agreements are contained.
- Pay by credit card for purchases of $50 or more. If a problem arises, most credit cards allow consumers to contest charges of $50 or more.
Know the laws for purchases of $25 or more: The Federal Trade Commission's Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives customers three days to cancel some purchases that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller's permanent place of business.
- At the time of sale, make sure to receive a contract or receipt that is dated, shows the name and address of the seller and explains the cancellation rights. Plus, get two copies of a cancellation form; one would be sent to the company if cancelling.
- The Cooling-Off Rule does not cover: sales under $25; goods and services not primarily intended for personal, family or household purposes; sales as a result of prior negation at the seller's permanent business location; real estate, insurance or securities; motor vehicles; and arts or crafts sold at fairs. For additional exceptions and requirements visit ftc.gov. In Oregon, this rule is also referred to as the 3-Day Right of Rescission.