Better Business Bureau: Read the fine print before making Mother’s Day purchases

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 4:38 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Mother’s Day is May 9th, and consumers are expected to spend a record $28.1 billion this year, up $1.4 billion from 2020, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation.

Consumers may be more optimistic this year, making up for last year when Mother’s Day fell during mandatory restrictions. According to NRF, here are the top 10 gifts shoppers are planning to buy: Greeting Cards; Flowers; Special Outing; Gift Cards; Clothing/Accessories; Jewelry; Housewares/Gardening tools; Personal Service; Books/CDs; Electronics.

BBB offers these tips to shoppers to help ensure that their gifts don’t fall flat:

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. 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 affiliated with that online source. If you are sending flowers to your 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 in 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. If you’re giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, check to see the gift card is redeemable for internet shopping and not just for in-store use. Also, consider the financial condition of the retailer or restaurant. If a location closes, the next closest one could be far away. Gift cards can become worthless when a website, company, chain, or only location files for bankruptcy or closes. Lastly, 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 and if there are any restrictions, special time requirements or cancellation fees.

Check restrictions on dining options. Before making plans, know what rules and restrictions are in place in your area.

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