Posted: 10/31/2019

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Halloween can be such a fun time to dress up and celebrate what is a favorite holiday for many. Face it, it’s not every day when can you throw on a wig, a unique costume, and maybe even some spooky lenses and not get strange stares. Whatever your plans are for October 31, staying safe and keeping your money safe should always be on the agenda.

Halloween can be such a fun time to dress up and celebrate what is a favorite holiday for many. Face it, it’s not every day when can you throw on a wig, a unique costume, and maybe even some spooky lenses and not get strange stares. Whatever your plans are for October 31, staying safe and keeping your money safe should always be on the agenda. If you’re thinking of making a few online purchases, read up on some tips to keep creepy con artists from stealing your Halloween fun.

Get Focused If Buying Cosmetic Lenses

Many of us enjoy the luxury of online shopping. Your perfect costume can be just a click away. If you’re planning on wearing cosmetic contact lenses, make sure to get a prescription first. Anyone that sells contact lenses without a prescription is doing so illegally.

While you may think cosmetic lenses are just an accessory, if you wear contacts that don’t fit properly, you can seriously damage your eyes. So before you purchase those cat eye lenses, go see your eye doctor and get a copy of your contact lens prescription. The Contact Lens Rule requires the doctor to provide it to you at no extra charge. If the seller doesn’t require a prescription or doesn’t verify the prescription, shop elsewhere.

A Cautionary Tale for Online Shoppers

Speaking of shopping, customers continue to share their online retail nightmares. A few years ago, we warned horror fans about The Scary Closet, a retailer that sells replica collectible dolls based on characters from scary films. We received a recent complaint from a VA customer that allegedly paid The Scary Closet over $4,000 in April 2019 for a life-sized replica Linda Blair doll from the “Exorcist”.  The customer still has not received anything.  No tracking number, order, or communication from owner Mark S. Anthony. The consumer has turned to Business Consumer Alliance to file a complaint, which is currently pending.  Unfortunately, The Scary Closet has a pattern of unanswered complaints and an F rating.

When you’re shopping online, it is best to use a credit card. Using a credit card provides certain protections and advantages other payment options don’t carry. Let’s say you don’t get your order or what you receive looks nothing like the advertisement. If there is a problem with the purchase you can file a dispute with your credit card company. Sometimes this is the only way customers end up getting their money back. Make sure to check out our online shopping guide for more valuable shopping tips.

Search for Trusted Reviews

Consumers often rely on online reviews to decide whether or not to make a purchase. But don’t be quick to trust just any review. Some reviews are written by the business owners themselves or their employees, while some posters are compensated for their reviews. Make sure you compare reviews across several sources and get reviews from impartial credible sources, such as Business Consumer Alliance. BCA monitors, authenticates, and verifies reviews so consumers can make an informed decision.

While considering reviews, think about the source of the information:  is it from an individual customer, many consumers, an expert organization, or a columnist? Does the review seem like it is too good to be true? Does the same review appear on several different websites?

Check the photos also. Do they look doctored? Are they photos from consumers who have made a purchase? It is not uncommon for unethical con artists to use photos and videos of others to pull off a scam. A simple Google image search can reveal if the same product appears on other websites and alert you to potential scams.

Keeping Safe

This Halloween, don’t get tricked into treating crooks to your money. Before you make a purchase or agree to pay for some type of service, check the company out with BCA. If you run into a scam or have a problem with a business, let us know about it. You can also help other consumers by reviewing businesses you’ve used. Your experience can help others decide whether or not to do business with a company. Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

 

About Business Consumer Alliance

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: scams, online shopping, reviews

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The Consumer Ally program is free for consumers to join. At BCA, we feel it's very important to educate the public on trends like scams, new laws and providing helpful tips to empower the public in making wise purchasing decisions. This program is an elite community of consumers who share our vision for a safe marketplace. We can't be everywhere at once so we depend on feedback from the public to help our efforts.

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