Whether your Dad is an adventure seeker, fisher, golfer or just up for new experiences, consider the fine print before purchasing adventure activities, classes or gift certificates for Father’s Day. The Better Business Bureau of Hawaii encourages consumer to consider these tips before making a gift purchase:
Know the website. Before ordering any merchandise, check the URL link to make sure it starts with “https://” (the ‘s’ means it is secure). Also look for a small padlock icon usually located at the corner of the URL bar. These symbols tell shoppers that a website is secure for making purchases.
Read and compare. When buying a product, read the whole description including the fine print. It is important to understand the details of the product being purchased so there are no surprises when it’s delivered.
Choose the correct payment method. Always pay with a credit card, not a debit card, when shopping online. A purchase with a credit card is protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This allows customers to briefly hold payment while a problem is reviewed and resolved. This act also protects customers in the event that credit card information is stolen and used without permission.
Choose businesses you trust or ask for recommendations. Go to hawaii.bbb.org and check out the business or to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust and to make sure you are dealing with a reputable business that will guarantee the sale prices they claim to have. Ask friends for recommendations and verify references before handing over any money.
If you’re shopping in the classified ads, use common sense. “If someone asks you to show up at a dark parking lot at 11 p.m. with $5,000 cash, you don’t want to do that,” said Hawaii BBB CEO Greg Dunn.
Ask for gift receipts. Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item, or risk receiving an exchange at a lower price.
Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate prior to purchase. Ensure that the expiration date and any other conditions won’t be problematic. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping and not just for in-store use.
Check the refund policy and expiration date. When buying gifts or outing packages, get refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee policies in writing. Make sure you know the expiration date of any offers, and if a refund is available if Dad can’t make it for any reason. Some gift certificates and discount coupons are transferable and some are not. Are there any cancellation penalties? What is considered a valid cancellation reason for the buyer or the operator? Under what conditions is a full refund available?
Check for additional fees and limitations before purchasing. Make sure you know if any additional fees apply for things like equipment rental, meals and transportation. Check for other limitations; some adventure activities restrict those with certain health issues.
Get the details in writing. For things like tours, classes, sightseeing and lessons, make sure you get all of the costs and features in writing. What services and equipment are included? Ensure taxes, service fees and other charges are clearly disclosed. The agreement should spell out base rental cost, daily fees, insurance, and other details such as time restrictions. If at all possible, visually inspect the rental prior to committing. Asterisks are commonly used to indicate restrictions, such as additional charges and time requirements. Look for a “conditions” clause. Read the small print to see if it alters the original offer. Get a gift receipt and enclose it with the present.