With Mother’s Day around the corner, many consumers are searching for that perfect gift that symbolizes their appreciation for that special person in their life. In a recent poll, 43% of consumers indicated that finding a unique or different gift is the main consideration when shopping for Mother’s Day. While some individuals have the foresight to purchase gifts months in advance, which is far from the norm, Mother’s Day creates a surge of online purchase activity and frantic browsing on specialty websites.
Seeking out specialty gifts often leads consumers to niche websites and businesses, arenas in which fraudulent actors can operate under the guise of legitimacy. This is especially true of online purchases, where businesses can portray any number of specialty services that entice thoughtful consumers to part with their money.
To protect yourself from falling victim to Mother’s Day gimmicks, follow these guidelines provided by your Better Business Bureau:
Shop with a credit card. It is easier to dispute charges that were not approved or get your money back when using a credit card than with debit, prepaid or gift cards.
Beware of deals that seem “too good to be true.” Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer amazing deals on specialty items. Make sure to read these offers carefully; there may be hidden costs or monthly subscriptions disguised as purchases.
Check a site’s security. Secure sites should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on at least the purchase or shopping cart page.
Shop local. Search for local florists for floral arrangements rather than using online stores. If the person who is receiving the flowers lives in another city, check for florists in that area. Make sure you order the arrangement with enough time for delivery and ask about any additional fees.
Verify affiliation. It is not uncommon for local flower shops to be affiliated with third-party entities. BBB recommends consumers spend the time to confirm that the business they are placing an order with is affiliated with the intended third-party resource.
Guides, Tours and Classes
Pay attention to the details. While art classes, wine tastings and cooking lessons are great choices for a unique gift, make sure that these activities’ details are in writing. Pay particular attention to whether reservations are needed and any restrictions, special requirements or cancellation fees.
For more information on how to securely shop this Mother’s Day, visit BBB.org.