The Minnesota State Fair is nearly here, and the Better Business Bureau is advising fairgoers to have their eyes wide open if, among the food and amusements, they also encounter a sales pitch from someone selling products or services. The B-B-B’s Dan Hendrickson says, “Most businesses do it the right way, but we want to make sure customers are aware, there’s still things they need to do even though it’s a fun environment. They still need to look at their bottom line.”
Hendrickson advises before buying, research the business…get its refund, exchange and warranty policies in writing…verify its physical location and phone number…and comparison shop before making your final decision. The Better Business Bureau has smartphone-optimized reports at BBB-dot-org and you can do on-line checking right at the Fair.
Hendrickson says the State Fair is “a great opportunity for everybody. Businesses have a great chance to get out in front of consumers. Consumers have a great chance to have some fun and see the latest sights and products, and we just want everyone to go in with their eyes open and, again, make wise purchasing decisions.”
Here’s the BBB’s news release:
Burnsville, Minnesota – August 22, 2017 – The Minnesota State Fair is always a sure sign summer is drawing to a close. But in addition to being a great way to cap off a season of fun, it’s also a terrific platform for many businesses to showcase their products, inventions and ideas to enthusiastic fairgoers. The State Fair is an institution, and it’s easy to get swept up in all of the excitement and fun. However, as with all things, Better Business Bureau® of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) advises consumers to take their time and do their due diligence after listening to sales pitches.
“Many people wait all year for the State Fair – it’s a tradition,” said Susan Adams Loyd, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “It’s also an excellent opportunity for businesses to get in front of potential customers. We just want consumers to make wise purchasing decisions.”
BBB offers the following tips for consumers who attend the State Fair with an eye on making non-food related purchases:
- Research companies for free at BBB.org. BBB Business Profiles are optimized for smartphones. Monday through Friday, you can also call 1-800-646-6222 to speak to live operators. BBB offers customers reviews as well.
- Prior to making payment, get the company’s refund and exchange policies in writing. Also, ask about any guarantees or warranties.
- Collect the company’s physical location and telephone number in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.
- It’s always a good idea to do some comparison shopping before making a purchasing decision. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.
- Don’t be pressured to buy. After the demonstration or sales pitch, give yourself some time to think about the purchase. This will help you decide whether or not the item is necessary and a good deal.
- Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the State Fair. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item on the spot.
- It’s important to note that the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling-off rule,” which normally allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs:
- Purchases under $25;
- Goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family, or household purposes;
- Insurance, securities, or real estate;
- Motor vehicles; and
- Arts and crafts.
- If you are making a purchase where the “cooling-off rule” does apply, and you need to cancel a sale, sign and date a copy of the company’s cancellation form, which they should provide. If you mail the form back to the company, be sure it is postmarked before midnight of the third business day after which you made the purchase. Sundays and federal holidays are not considered business days. Otherwise, bring the form in-person to the company within three days of the date you made the purchase.
“We’re all about businesses making the most of gatherings like the State Fair,” added Adams Loyd. “It’s a get-together with opportunities for all.”
BBB will once again be an exhibitor at the Minnesota State Fair, with a booth in the Education Building. The Fair runs from August 24 to September 4.
The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.