Holidays Vivian | 16 Jun 2011 05:52 pm

Tips For an Angry-Free Holiday Season – How to Avoid Consumer Traps and Problems

It’s that time of year again. Consumers everywhere are feeling the pressure to find the perfect gifts for family, friends and coworkers. Of course, each of us inevitably has that dreadful holiday experience where a gift doesn’t arrive on time, you bought the wrong item and have to return it, you were charged too much, or the product doesn’t work. Here are a few tips to follow in order to ensure this holiday season is filled with fun instead of a shopping nightmare.

Always Ask for a Gift Receipt:

Even if you are buying something for yourself, ask for a gift receipt. This protects you in two ways – you now have two receipts for a purchase and retailers may give you more time to return an item when using the gift receipt.

Do Your Product Research:

When buying a high-ticket item such as a flat-screen tv, don’t be fooled by the ads touting big savings. Be prepared by researching the products you want on sites such as When you walk into a store, you should have the model number ready. Otherwise, the sales staff may pressure you into buying an item that is overstocked.

Always Get the Online Price First:

Don’t go into a store without looking online to get a better idea of prices if you know what you’re looking for. Companies such as PC Richard & Sons and Sixth Avenue Electronics often offer better prices on their web sites than they do in the stores. They will match the online price but you need to know that information beforehand.

Find Ratings of Online Companies:

There always seems to be a better price available by companies on the Web. Before ordering a product online, make sure you check consumer ratings of the company. These are available on price comparison sites such as or If there are a number of negative reviews about a company that has the best price, you’re just asking for a bad experience if you continue with the order. It’s better to pay a couple of dollars more for a company that has favorable reviews than to save money and deal with the frustration of poor customer service.

Find the Coupon Code:

Don’t make a purchase online without searching for a coupon code first. Most companies offer them and can be found on sites like and

Don’t Make Returns on Dec. 26:

Everyone is running back to the store on December 26th to make their returns, so you’ll end up waiting in line for a long time. You’ll also be dealing with customer service reps who are fed up with angry customers and are less likely to help you. It’s better to wait about a week. Even better, go on New Year’s Day when fewer people are going out.

Pay with a Credit Card:

Cash used to be king but it doesn’t offer the protection that you get when making purchases with credit cards. Most card companies allow you to dispute charges and work to resolve issues with retailers. It’s another level of protection for you as a consumer.

These are just a couple of helpful hints so that you can enjoy the holiday season. Of course, if you can’t resolve an issue with a retailer, the experts at are here to help.

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