BBB Tips: Don’t be fooled by Halloween costumes

Halloween is a good time to smash, but buying decorations and clothing should not be a terrible experience. Before buying, shoppers should rely on trusted merchants and research unfamiliar stores or websites.

The Business Improvement Board receives dozens of complaints about clothing stores and websites every year. Complaints range from late arrivals or never-arrived delivery to poor quality and difficulty in obtaining refunds.

Buying a lot of clothes is great, but if possible, you should check the items carefully before buying. Some consumers complain to BBB about poor product quality, such as clothing that is torn when trying out or taking it out of the package. In some cases, store employees tell customers that they can’t return because they have been used, broken during unboxing or returned after the store deadline. Other retailers did not mention that there were no returns.

Some customers found that the store was closed when reporting a problem or a disconnected customer service number.

It is worth checking the reputation of the site before placing an order. BBB has issued warnings about specific websites selling human and animal clothing in the past. BBB provides these tips to help you avoid haunting after Halloween:

• Location. If you are interested in trying a new or unfamiliar online business, please ask the company’s physical location (address and phone number) so that you can view its BBB business profile at

• Customer Satisfaction Policy. Determine the company’s refund and return policy prior to purchase. If the online company is unable to provide specific commitments on any issues you may have with your product or service, rethink your business.

• Don’t take risks. Before placing an order, make sure you have a thorough understanding of everything involved. If you need items before a certain date, please be aware of the price and any shipping and handling costs, as well as the merchant’s shipping schedule. Understand the terms of any product or service warranty. Learn how long it will take before you receive your order. Federal law requires goods and services to be delivered within 30 days, unless the merchant specifies a different delivery date.

• Protect your personal information. Provide your credit card number online only in a secure environment. On the credit card number or PayPal account login page, look for the prefix “https://” in the URL box listing the website address to ensure that the website you are using is secure.

• Ask about the store’s operating hours. If you are buying from a seasonal store, ask if it will be open after the holiday and whether it will be returned at the end of the season. If not, consider buying it elsewhere or spending more time ensuring that the item exactly meets your requirements before purchase.

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