Toys and electronics are among the most gifted items during the holidays, but Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington reminds shoppers that big-ticket items can lead to big-time headaches.
- Be skeptical if in-demand children’s products are underpriced on auction sites, as authenticity may be questionable.
- Verify that toys are age-appropriate. Read labels and find tips through the Toy Industry Association at toyassociation.org and toyinfo.org.
- Consider gifting used toys to save a few dollars; older products can still be appealing to children if items seem new to them.
- Ensure safety; visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website, cpsc.gov, to check for recalled products. Always confirm that older toys or hand-me-downs meet current safety standards.
- Beware if must-have televisions, computers, laptops, tablets and cell phones are priced far below market value—especially from lesser-known online sellers.
- Be wary of unnecessary and expensive add-ons, such as “gold-plated, oxygenated, high-speed” data cables for televisions or computers.
- Avoid extended-warranty plans that are rarely worth the cost; manufacturer warranties are typically sufficient. The Federal Trade Commission provides a guide on understanding warranties.
During the season of giving, it is easy to get carried away; make a budget and stick to it. To find reputable retailers this holiday shopping season, check out bbb.org.