Vancouver – Mother’s Day is coming up on May 14th, and shortly after, Father’s Day on June 18th. As with any day that involves thinking of loved ones and the purchase of special gifts, BBB simply wants consumers to do their due diligence when it comes to spending money.
On average, Canadians will spend nearly $200 on mom for Mother’s Day and many of those purchases will be done online. According to BBB’s new Risk Index, online shopping scams are one of the riskiest scams out there and cost consumers millions of dollars every year.
“Eighty percent of consumers shop online now,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “That means the risk of falling into the hands of scammers increases. Consumers need to be sure they are shopping on legit and secure websites and that means being the instigator and not making impulse buys through pop-up ads. Clicking on something that shows up on a social media portal could pull you into a questionable website.”
BBB offers the following shopping tips for Mother’s Day gifts:
- Shopping Online. Avoid suspicious websites and glossy pop-up ads. Make sure the website has the https:// and the ‘lock’ icon in the URL. Don’t click on hyperlinks in unsolicited emails. Don’t input personal information such as Social Insurance Number. Pay with credit card or PayPal. Understand return and refund policies. Read the fine print.
- Flowers. Since Mother’s Day flower sales are the second highest sales period for your local florist, it’s important to choose wisely and find someone you can trust with your order. Complaints filed with BBB about florists included flowers being late, wrong, or not delivered. Also, it is not uncommon for local flower shops to be affiliated with third-party entities. BBB advises consumers to confirm that the business they are placing their order with is in fact affiliated with that online source. If you are sending flowers to you mother in another city, it is best to check online for a florist in her area. Make sure you have enough time for delivery, ask about all fees associated with your order and make sure the date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order.
- Electronics. Whether you plan to buy Mom a new phone, tablet or other electronic device, make sure you leave it the original packaging. Many retailers require the original packaging in order to process returns or exchanges. Buy from reputable dealers.
- Gift Cards and Certificates. Check the terms and conditions of any gift card or certificate before buying so that it won’t be a problem. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see that the gift card is redeemable for Internet shopping, and not just for in-store use. Make sure the gift card has not been tampered with.
- Guides, Tours and Classes. Art classes, wine tastings and cooking lessons are fun ways to celebrate and spend time with Mom. However, it’s important to get the details of these activities in writing. Be sure to clarify total costs and features, if there are reservations needed, if there are any restrictions, special time requirements or cancellation fees.
- Book Restaurants in Advance. Mother’s Day is a very busy day for local eateries. Make sure you’ve booked long in advance and understand they may have two seatings, so your dining time may have a limitation.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 365 million times for BBB Business Reviews, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Mainland B.C., founded in 1939 and serving the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon, is one of 108 local, independent BBBs across North America. In 2016, consumers turned to BBB Serving Mainland B.C. more than 2 million times for Business Reviews and processed 6,000 complaints.