With Halloween just about two weeks away, pop-up costume shops and other seasonal stores are all over the area. But how long will they be around?
The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to shop carefully at such stores, because they may not be around for refunds if you aren't satisfied with your merchandise. The same goes for websites specializing in costumes and party gear.
The BBB received 357 complaints nationwide about costume stores and websites in the last year, many of them about merchandise that didn't arrive, problems obtaining refunds or poor quality. Fortunately, only one of those complaints was for a St. Louis area store, but the St. Louis BBB has issued warnings in the past about websites specializing in costumes for pets or humans.
The BBB has four tips to keep consumers from being haunted after Halloween is over:
- Check a company's location, including address and phone number. Some scam websites have pirated legitimate stores' locations or phone numbers, so call the business or drive by and find out if it's really where it says it is.
- Determine the store's customers satisfaction policy. Do they make refunds? How long do you have to make a return? If you're ordering online, understand the shipping schedule so you get your merchandise in time.
- Guard your personal information. Only provide your credit card number online in a secure environment. Look for the prefix "https://" in the URL box listing the website's address.
- Ask how long a store will operate. Will they be around after the season if you need to make a return?