(Prescott, Arizona – October 23, 2012) With less than 8 days left until Halloween, the pressure to find the perfect costume is on and many consumers are turning to temporary Halloween specialty stores for help. Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises last minute shoppers to pay close attention to purchases from temporary Halloween retailers to avoid being "tricked".
According to the National Retail Federation, a record 170 million Americans will spend close to $8 billion on candy, pumpkins, decorations and costumes – both for themselves and their pets. To help with the demand, temporary Halloween specialty stores and online websites typically set up shop around October and close their doors when the holiday is over, leaving consumers with little or no recourse if issues arise.
When shopping at a temporary Halloween specialty store, BBB suggests consumers to go in with the assumption that whatever is purchased is theirs to keep, with little chance to return items after Halloween; even if the store has a return policy. Many of these specialty stores post notices about their return policy deadlines as well as postmark dates required for online returns.
BBB offers the following tips to help make sure your Halloween "spooktacular":
Search smart right from the start. Many seasonal stores are run by reputable retailers who take advantage of short-term leases on vacant space to set up temporary stores and increase their permanent space; however, other shops may be in and out in a matter of weeks. While it is always good to check out a company's BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org, some seasonal businesses change their name from one year to the next as a way of disguising a poor track record.
Read the fine print. Just because it's a seasonal store doesn't mean the store or the business backing it up doesn't have the same responsibilities as a year-round operation. Make sure to review the store's refund and return policies and read all the terms and conditions. If the policies are not provided, ask for them, as they have to be made available.
Know what to expect when renting a costume. Rental costumes tend to be sturdier and more elaborate than the average Halloween costume. For this reason, make sure you understand your responsibilities. What happens if, for example, the costume rips, you get a stain on it, or you lose it altogether? Do you have to pay for the whole costume? What about the cleaning? Make sure all your questions are answered in the rental agreement.
For more consumer tips you can trust this holiday season, visit arizonabbb.org.