(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today encouraged
consumers to remember their rights and watch for potential scams while
shopping this holiday season.
“Understanding your rights as a consumer can help you avoid scams and
make the most of holiday shopping,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We
want to help consumers identify potential problems, and we encourage
them to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office if they need help.”
Ohio Attorney General Offers Holiday Shopping Tips
November 23, 2015 - 7:05 PM
Since January, the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section
has received more than 24,600 complaints involving a variety of issues.
Top problem areas include billing, misrepresentation, failure to
deliver, poor service or shoddy work, and refund problems.
To avoid problems in consumer transactions, Attorney General DeWine offers consumers the following advice:
Check the exclusions and limitations of an offer.
Exclusions and limitations must be clearly disclosed in advertisements,
including online, so review terms and conditions carefully before you go
to the store or make a purchase.
Find out if rain checks apply. If a seller advertises
a product at a certain price but sells out of that product by the time
you respond to the ad, you may have the right to a rain check. However,
sellers are not required to provide rain checks if they clearly disclose
the number of goods available at that price or if they clearly state
that no rain checks will be given.
Understand return policies before you buy. In Ohio,
sellers can choose to set their own return policies, including policies
of “no returns,” but they should clearly tell you what their return
policy is before you check out or complete the transaction. (For
example, the return policy shouldn’t be posted only on the back of a
Look out for misrepresentations. Sellers may not
misrepresent important characteristics of a product or use
“bait-and-switch” tactics to lure you in with one advertised product
only to encourage you to buy more expensive items.
Know that “free” must really mean free. Sellers may
not advertise goods or services as “free” when the cost of the “free”
offer is passed on to the consumer. For example, if a seller is
advertising a buy-one-get-one-free sale, the seller can’t raise the base
price of the first item in order to offset the cost of the “free” item.
Check delivery dates. Generally when you order a
product or service, the seller has eight weeks to deliver the product or
to offer you a refund or substitution. Carefully review expected
delivery dates before you make a purchase so you know when to expect the
delivery. Pick up delivered packages promptly so that they’re not
stolen or damaged outside your door.
Keep your receipts. Maintaining a complete record of a
sale will help you handle problems that may arise after the purchase.
Keep copies of receipts, sales agreements, advertisements, photos of
products, or other documentation of a sale until the transaction and
billing process are complete.
Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your credit
card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity.
If you find problems, immediately notify your credit card provider or
bank. The sooner you identify a problem, the sooner you can work to
Watch for scams. Con artists operate year round. If
you receive a message saying you’ve won the lottery, the IRS is coming
to arrest you, or a family member is out of the country and in need of
money immediately, it’s likely a scam.
Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help
addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s
Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.
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