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Attorney General's News Release

November 26, 2013

Consumer Alert: Attorney General Koster advises Missourians to shop smart this holiday season

Jefferson City, Mo. – With the busy holiday shopping season fast approaching, Attorney General Chris Koster today released tips for Missouri consumers to shop smart and safely.

"Many Missourians will take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on popular products," said Koster. "We want consumers to know that the Attorney General's Office will be working to ensure shoppers get the deals they are promised. Any consumer with a complaint should contact my Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222."

Koster offers the following tips for consumers who are doing holiday shopping: 

  • Bring copies of special advertising.  As retailers release special holiday deals online, in social media, and in publications, bring the advertisements with you when you shop to verify that the price is what you expected.
  • Research merchants before you shop. Find out how long they've been in business; look into their customer service track record. Use the Attorney General's online “Know Mo” portal to check for complaints against specific businesses.
  • Make sure you understand return and exchange polices. Don't be surprised by restocking fees or deals with limited return or exchange windows. Always read the fine print.
  • Be aware of sales advertised only for certain hours in the day. Some Black Friday deals may only extend through part of the day.
  • Be on the lookout for bait-and-switch tactics, designed to draw you in but then push you toward more expensive items. Insist on advertised deals and products.

For Cyber Monday shoppers and others who plan to buy gifts online, the Attorney General recommends taking precautions to ensure your transactions are secure. Shop with online retailers you know and trust. When entering credit card information, be sure that an "https" precedes the website address in your browser's address bar (the "s" indicates use of a more secure protocol). Many browsers will display a padlock icon when you navigate to a secure site.

Missouri consumers who suspect deceptive advertising or other unfair business practices should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-392-8222 or online.

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