Your Ad Here

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Consumer Reports Offers Holiday Buying Tips

An estimated 63 million Americans will hit the stores for the formal start of the holiday shopping season known as "Black" Friday, according to a recent poll from Consumer Reports.

Below are some tips that Consumer Reports has compiled to guide consumers through this hectic period. For the complete report, please visit the annual Holiday Shopping Guide at

1. Don't assume that the best deals are on Black Friday.

-- Many merchants are already reacting to intense competition by slashing prices as much as 50 percent and dangling bonus discounts to customers willing to shop at slower times during the day. Consumers who delay their shopping a bit will not be forced to pay full price.

2. Shop early.

-- Aside from beating heavy traffic and avoiding packed stores, early birds get to choose from the entire range of merchandise before it's been picked through, which could mean fewer color, size and style options. Also, some retailer Web sites are more inclined to offer enticing discounts in the morning when shopper traffic is lighter.

3. Check the retailer's Web site.

-- It can save consumers time and possibly a trip to the store. Shoppers can learn if the products they want are stocked and available. Also, most retailers also allow consumers to purchase online and pick it up locally. Another plus: retailers may offer coupons that shoppers can print out and bring with them for extra savings.

4. Be mindful of return policies and restocking fees.

-- Retailers are becoming stricter when it comes to enforcing return policies. Consumer Reports advises shoppers to ask for gift receipts because without one, a merchant will issue a store credit for the lowest priced the item actually sold for, not for the price that might have been paid. Returning opened items such as TVs, camcorders, digital cameras and other major buys could cost consumers as much as 25 percent of the purchase to cover the cost of a restocking fee.

5. Weigh the risks and rewards of late-night and pre-dawn sales.

-- Many retailers offer huge discounts, often selling a few attention-grabbing toys or electronic items at or below cost to lure consumers into the store in hopes they will purchase other more profitable merchandise. Such products sold as "loss leaders" are typically offered in extremely limited quantities and it's first-come, first serve.

And to help shoppers make the best purchasing choices this holiday season, consumers are invited to visit the Holiday Shopping Guide --

It offers consumers gift suggestions for everyone on their list including techies, kids and those who are hard to please.

To ensure that people are prepared for the holidays with the latest information, the Holiday Shopping Guide will be updated frequently throughout the holiday season.

If you can't contribute, please click on the Google ad above. Thank you!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home