On this 12th and final day of consumer protection — just of this series, you understand, not ever — here are a few reminders as you head toward whatever holiday you celebrate (or don’t) this December. Whether you’re shopping for a fridge that reminds you that you’re out of milk (step OFF, appliances, I’ve got this) or some cozy slippers, remember:
- Read the reviews. What are experts saying about the product you’re after? Do they compare brands or versions of the product? Is tech ability needed to appreciate and use it?
- Compare prices. Obviously, right? But online or in-person door-buster “deals” with low, low prices often pressure you to act quickly. So do some up-front work on what price neighborhood to expect, especially for higher-priced items. That way, you know what’s really a good deal, and what’s just lots of hype.
- What about privacy? You know your comfort level with what your devices know about you. But if you’re gifting, how would the recipient feel about, say, a connected watch that tracks her steps and encourages her to walk more? Might she, I don’t know, set fire to that device after a few days? Or thank you SO much for suggesting that she ought to exercise? Theoretically, you understand.
- Pay by credit card. You have the most protections when you shop (online or elsewhere) with a credit card.
We hope the 12 Days of Consumer Protection series helped remind you of a few ways to save money or protect yourself from scams. And we hope you shared the blogs and graphics with your network. And it’s not too late! Share on — and sign up for the blog at ftc.gov/consumeralerts to stay up with the latest scams. And happy holidays from your friends at the FTC.