7 tips for Boxing Day sanity — BBB

Make sure you have a plan before heading out or shopping online today, says the business watchdog

Today, Boxing Day, continues to be a popular day for shopping in person or online, according to recent surveys.

But there are things you should do to avoid a shopping hangover, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving mainland B.C.

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"Even with moving consumer trends, Boxing Day is still the last hoorah and the completion of the season's shopping triad for both businesses and consumers," says Karla Davis, manager of community and public relations at the BBB.

"It is a great opportunity for businesses to move product and clear inventory before the new year, which by extension creates the possibility for good bargains and savings on high ticket items for consumers,” Davis further stated.

Recent consumer trends have shown that Boxing Day shopping has slightly decreased and Canadians have made the Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend their favorite time to shop.

However, according to the Retail Council of Canada's 2018 Holiday Survey conducted by Leger, 35% of consumers still plan to take advantage of Boxing Day deals, with 62% planning to shop in-store and the remaining 38% shopping online through their computer, tablet or mobile devices.

It’s great fun to head out with the crowds and get that last minute item. Here are a few things to think about, according to BBB.

1. Make a list — This will help to keep you focused and prevent you from breaking the bank. Consider adding items that do not normally go on sale.

2. Browse and window shop beforehand — Whether you plan to shop in-store or online, look out for promotions and advertisements from retailers. This will help to create inspiration for your shopping list, give you an opportunity to compare and verify prices and you may even be able to catch a few pre-Boxing Day deals.

3. Gather the gift cards — You may already have a few gift cards lying around and there is a great chance that there is at least one more waiting for you in your Christmas stocking or under the tree. This is great time to cash them in and hold off on spending your own money or using your credit cards.

4. Leave the car at home -— Try to avoid the parking woes by hopping on the train, catching a bus, traveling in a cab or carpooling. Anticipation of big bargains will attract large crowds and that means limited parking.

5. Read the fine print - Two of the top influencing factors for consumers when selecting a retailer are holiday sales and a convenient return policy. “While this is important, consumers should also remember that low prices may come with a catch, and some Boxing Day purchases may be final. Ensure that you check all the after-sale services that the retailer offers, especially on more expensive items like large household appliances and electronics that would normally attract some kind of warranty,” Davis stated.

6. Avoid shopping in groups — Shopping alone or with one other person allows you to move quickly from store to store and make better use of your time.

7. Be wary of free trial offers — While shopping online, look out for misleading risk free trial offers being promoted through fake celebrity endorsements, as subscription traps and surprise charges may be lurking.

To find out more about business profiles, ratings and customer reviews as well as the latest scams or misleading advertisements, visit bbb.org.

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