Americans love showing their dads how much they appreciate them. For the fourth straight year in 2017, Americans spent more on Father’s Day than the previous year.
Last year, Americans spent an estimated $15.5 billion on Father’s Day gifts. According to National Retail Federation (NRF) survey figures, consumer electronics, sporting goods and tools accounted for large percentages of the spending in 2017, with special dinners ranking second, and greeting cards taking the top spot at 64.3 percent.
Such a major shopping holiday presents many opportunities to be scammed out of your hard-earned money and miss out on treating your father. Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends looking before you leap, especially if you’re under last-minute pressure to make a special purchase.
“As you make plans to celebrate the man in your life this year, research and make purchases wisely,” said Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield Regional Director. “Planning excursions or buying collector’s items from online markets or specialty retailers can make great gifts, but you’ll want to read the fine print and avoid dissatisfaction.”
BBB recommends checking BBB Business Profiles when planning events or buying one-of-a-kind items from specialty retailers. The profile includes reviews of the company, which include valuable information like how long a company has been in business and how many complaints – if any – have been filed against the company and how the company has responded. The review includes a rating from A+ to F, with F the lowest rating BBB gives to any company.
While Americans still spend more on Mother’s Day — by a large margin, according to the NRF — we are good about not forgetting about Dad. Just be sure to shop with caution when you plan his special day.
“The more unique the gift for your father is, the more work you’re going to need to do to make sure you are buying something authentic,” Garland said. “If you can find the item or service from a business that is BBB Accredited, you know that business has been vetted and committed to BBB’s Standards of Trust.”
When shopping for Father’s Day, BBB recommends adhering to the following:
• Read the fine print. When buying gift cards and certificates, check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase to ensure that the expiration date and any other conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is able to be redeemed for products online as well as items in the store.
• Do your homework. Before ordering electronics, clothing or any other gifts for Father’s Day, check out the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.
• Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the retailer or website to be certain you have allowed enough time for delivery of any purchased gifts. Make sure that your preferred delivery date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. If you order ahead of time, delivery and other charges will be less than last-minute or overnight shipping.
• Be diligent with rentals. If the man in your life is the adventurous type, you may be interested in renting ATVs, campers, canoes, motorcycles or other recreational equipment for excursions this Father’s Day. Be sure you get a written contract that includes details such as the base rental cost, daily fees, insurance and time restrictions for any equipment. Also, take the time to visually inspect the rental and get written proof of any existing damage before renting the equipment. This way, you can avoid disputes over unexpected maintenance and repair fees.
• Have a back-up plan. Make sure you understand a store or services guarantee and other policies. Find out how customer complaints are handled and what recourse you will have if the arrangement is not satisfactory.
• It’s best to use a credit card when ordering online, because you can dispute charges if the vendor doesn’t satisfy you. Charges made on a debit card are the same as cash, and you have no recourse through your bank if there is a problem.
• Don’t click online coupons. If you see a post on social media or receive an email with an offer, unless you’re sure the source is the real thing, don’t click. The offer could take you to a malicious website. If you see an offer online, search for it independently. Go directly to the company’s website to verify the coupon offer.
• After your purchase, share your experience. Consider posting a Customer Review at bbb.org.