FTC issues warning to consumers ahead of holiday season

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What will holiday shopping be like this year with an economy facing a shortage of crisps and supply chain issues? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says consumers should take the situation seriously as it could greatly affect the price of certain items, how buyers find them, and whether they receive them on time.

Retailers are painfully aware of the gravity of this situation. In a recent KPMG survey of retail executives, 82% of respondents agreed that they were either “somewhat” or “very concerned” about stockouts.

As a result, the survey indicates that retailers are developing omnichannel strategies that will allow them to capitalize on the growing popularity of “last mile” delivery options. These options include traditional online ordering with delivery included, curbside pickup, online ordering and in-store item pickup, and in-store purchase with door-to-door delivery.

Five things to do while shopping for the holiday season

In addition to worrying about the chip shortage and supply issues, the FTC says consumers should watch out for scammers who are already setting up fake online stores. To cover all of these issues, the agency outlined five things consumers should do when shopping this holiday season:

Research sellers before you buy. The FTC suggests searching online for the name of the seller and the product, as well as words such as “complaint” and “scam.” You should also read the reviews about the seller and their products.

Feed your inner skeptic. Each year there seems to be one toy more in demand than anything else. The FTC says if you see an offer for this year’s hottest giveaway in mid-December from a seller you’ve never heard of, run the other way as fast as you can.

Compare products. Buying the best deals is meant to save consumers money, and that’s especially important this holiday season. “Even with the crisps shortage, shop around to make sure you get the best deal. Compare prices online, looking at prices, delivery dates and even discounts or promo codes, ”suggests the FTC’s Carly Johnson.

Pay by credit card. Johnson encourages consumers to use credit cards wherever possible so that charges can be disputed if something goes wrong or if a scammer gets involved. “And if someone tells you to pay by wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or cash mail, stop by and find another seller,” Johnson said. “This is how the crooks tell you to pay.”

Keep records. When you buy something online, print and save a copy of the order until you get what you ordered and know you are going to keep it rather than return it.

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