BBB Tips for Summer Fair Purchases

July 31, 2014

Summer is the time for fairs and festivals. With many of these come cotton candy, fried pickles, and out-of-town vendors and sellers. If you're thinking of making a purchase at a county fair, an arts and craft fair, Wisconsin State Fair, or other festival or event, consider these BBB tips before you buy.

Check out the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. If you have a smartphone, you can access these reviews through our mobile website, m.bbb.org or via an iPhone app, available free at the iTunes store.

Prior to making a purchase, know the company's refund and exchange policy – Get the policy in writing, if possible.

Obtain the company's physical location and telephone number, in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.

As with any purchase, it makes sense to comparison shop. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value. If you are making a large purchase, don't be afraid to leave the fairgrounds to do some research.

Don't be pressured to buy. After the demonstration or sales pitch, walk away from the sales person to give yourself some time to think about the purchase.

Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the fair or event -- if so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item "on the spot."

Know the limits of the "cooling-off rule" It's important to note that the FTC’s "cooling-off rule," which allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs: Purchases under $25; 2) Insurance, securities, or real estate; 3) Motor vehicles; and 4) Arts and crafts.

File a complaint with the BBB or post positive, negative or neutral reviews at www.bbb.org/Wisconsin.

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