The Connecticut BBB is warning students and parents to be cautious when shopping for prom and graduation apparel online. BBB warns that unethical sellers will switch stock garments' labels with designer labels; sell cheaply-manufactured, low-quality merchandise that looks different than the online advertisement; and ship merchandise late or not at all.
Online shoppers should take the following precautions.
- Check the website's reputation. BBB business reviews contain information about the quality of the seller's products and services as well as a record of complaints and government actions against the seller.
- Look for hidden costs and policies. Keep shipping and handling fees in mind and ask whether you can return the garment for a full refund.
- Stick with a safe payment method. Credit cards and online payment processing services (such as PayPal) protect consumers when there is a dispute over unauthorized charges. Debit cards do not offer the same protection. Do not trust websites that require payment by wire transfer or prepaid gift card.
- Make sure you can find the seller. The seller's website should list a physical location and a working phone number.
- Look for HTTPS:// along with a padlock icon in your browser's address bar. This tells you that the website is taking precautions with its payment processing system.