BBB Tip: Father’s Day shopping

Father’s Day is on June 19 and consumers are actively searching for and purchasing gifts for the father figures in their lives. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates total spending of $20 billion on Father’s Day gifts and celebrations this year, with the most amount of money spent on special outings, clothing, gift cards and electronics. According to NRF, 44% of Father’s Day shoppers will be searching for a gift that is unique or different and 37% for one that creates a special memory. While shopping online for Father’s Day purchases, BBB reminds consumers to be wary of online purchase scams and all-inclusive packages advertised at steep discounts.

“If it’s too good to be true, it is,” one Texas resident reported to BBB Scam Tracker in June 2021. “I tried to order my husband a gift for Father’s Day and got taken for $98. I ordered some tools I found online and paid through PayPal, then my receipt said I was paying a person instead of a company, which seemed strange. I contacted PayPal immediately, but they could not return my money. It was that fast! The website was no longer active the very next day, but they already have a new one that looks the same and they always say 80% off.”

When purchasing gifts online, for Father’s Day or any other celebration, it is essential to exercise caution and carefully read the limitations of purchase, expected delivery date and source of the product. BBB’s 2021 Scam Tracker Risk Report identified online purchase scams as the No. 1 riskiest scam affecting consumers in North America across all age groups with a median loss of nearly $100. Scammers often capitalize on marketplace trends and Father’s Day provides an opportunity for fraudulent sellers to advertise products and services disguised as gift ideas.

While shopping for Father’s Day gifts this year, BBB recommends the following guidelines to avoid scams:

Read the fine print. When buying gift cards or outing packages, check the terms and conditions before purchase to ensure that the expiration date and any other limitations will not be problematic. Pay close attention to any policies that may void the transaction if not followed, such as arrival times, cancellation or rescheduling processes, and if there are physical restrictions or requirements. If you are giving a gift card to someone who will make online purchases, be sure it is valid for both in-store and online purchases.

Do your homework. Before ordering electronics, clothing or any other gifts for Father’s Day, check out the company’s BBB Business Profile at Be sure to check for the ‘lock’ icon in the web address and that it begins with ‘https’ which indicates a secured system before placing an order or inputting credit or debit card information. Gifts that include personalization options, such as names, are popular purchases for Father’s Day, but can sometimes be made with low-quality materials that will not last. Read reviews and complaints from previous customers before placing an order to be sure the product received is similar to what is advertised.

Allow time for shipping and delivery. Check with the retailer or website to be certain you have allowed enough time to deliver any purchased gifts. Make sure that your preferred delivery date is specified clearly and guaranteed when you order. For expensive items, you may want to consider requiring for the package to be signed for on delivery to prevent package theft.

Be responsible with rentals. Sometimes to create a unique gift, rentals are involved. Before renting ATVs, campers, motorcycles or other recreational equipment for excursions this Father’s Day, be sure you get a written contract that includes details such as the base rental cost, daily fees, insurance and time restrictions for any equipment. Also, take the time to visually inspect the rental and get written proof of any existing damage to avoid disputes over unexpected maintenance and repair fees.

Have a backup plan. Take the time to understand a store or service’s guarantee and other policies. Find out how the business handles customer complaints and what options you will have if the arrangement is unsatisfactory. It is best to use a credit card when ordering online due to the added protections credit cards have to dispute charges. Charges made on a debit card, wire transfer or mobile banking app are often the same as cash, and you may not have the ability to dispute charges if there is a problem.

Don’t click online coupons. If you see a post on social media or receive an email with an offer, unless you’re sure the source is legitimate, don’t click on the link as it could take you to a malicious website. If you see an advertisement for a product or sale online, especially on social media, search for it independently by going directly to the company’s website to verify the offer is legitimate. Learn more about social media scams on

If you’re shopping online, be sure to check BBB’s tips for smart shopping online.

For more tips on how to protect yourself from scams this Father’s Day, visit or