SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Better Business Bureau of Santa Barbara County is getting overwhelmed with calls from shoppers checking on Tri-County businesses as the year comes to an end.
“I try to be careful by using websites that I've used in the past,” said shopper Gricel Mendoza.
As President and CEO Richard Copelan of the Better Business Bureau explains, people now purchase products and services ONLINE more than ever before.
“When people purchase online, they don't know the quality of the material that they're going to receive or how they can return it.
Copelan said it is important to know how reliable the company is that customers are purchasing from.
“We're reminding people that customer reviews are great but don't just rely on reviews.You have to watch for companies with five-star reviews and no negative reviews. Personally, I like to go to the bad reviews and that kind of gives you an idea,” Copelan said.
Callers are also asking for reports on organizations that solicit donations.
Copelan said consumers should check on all requests for donations, monetary or otherwise.
“Whenever someone is asking for a donation, don't give it to them right now. Your donation is just as good tomorrow as it is today. Generally scam artists will push you to give them your money,”Copelan said.
After the holidays, customers often report problems returning or exchanging merchandise.
“Be aware ahead of time what the return policies are and what you have to go through. And if you have any problems and the company isn't helping you out then go to bbb.org and we can hopefully help you take care if it,” Copelan said.
BBB asks people to use common sense and if the thought occurs to you, "This sounds too good to be true," well, you know the rest.