When shopping at local festivals, be sure to know what you are purchasing and your rights to return or exchange items. MICHAEL ARES/THE PALM BEACH POST FILE
Photo: Michael Ares
Photo: Michael Ares

Tips for buying items at local festivals

Late summer and fall is the prime time for festivals in the Miami Valley. Many of these offer bourbon chicken, lemon shake-ups, Ferris wheels and an overwhelming number of vendors. If you’d like to purchase beautiful handcrafted goods and other items at these events, Better Business Bureau wants you to consider these tips:

  • Shop Around. Many of these events have similar vendors, so consider visiting other booths before you make your decision. The least expensive item may not always be the best quality, so take your time deciding. If you’re considering making a large purchase, do some research to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for. Keep an open mind, you never know what you will find.
  • Check out the vendor’s website if it has one. Look for a website with the padlock on the page and “https” in the URL web address box. Also, look for trustmarks on websites like your BBB’s seal.
  • Know where the company is located. Also, get a contact phone number. This way, if you need to return or exchange an item after the event is over, you can find the business again. Be sure to understand the company’s refund and exchange policies and get it in writing if possible.
  • Pay by credit card if possible. If something goes wrong, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card company.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away. Do not feel pressured to buy an item on the spot. If the person is giving a demonstration, walk away from the booth to give yourself some time to think. When you’re ready, head back and ask the vendor any questions you may have. Are they willing to come down on the price? Is the price they set honored after the event? Do they honor exchanges and returns or are all sales final? Consider these questions carefully to keep yourself from making an impulse buy.
  • Don’t take people at their word. Keep documentation of your purchases and orders.
  • Understand the “Cooling-Off Rule.” The Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule gives you a three-day grace period to cancel a sale made at a seller’s temporary location. However, understand this rule does not apply to purchases that are under $25 or involve insurance, securities, real estate, motor vehicles or arts and crafts.

For more information to ensure your festival trips are fun, visit bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. Better Business Bureau can provide a list of BBB Accredited Businesses, as well as Business Profiles on ones you’re considering.

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John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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