As residents shop for holiday gifts, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs encourage New Jerseyans to familiarize themselves with their rights as consumers, and to be cautious of potential fraud or deception during the holiday shopping season.
Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from last year, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“As New Jersey residents do their holiday shopping – this week or at the last minute – we want you to know that you can buy from New Jersey retailers with confidence because the Division of Consumer Affairs is looking out for you,” said Attorney General Grewal.
In New Jersey, shoppers should be informed of refund policies before making a purchase – not just on the receipt. Refund policies that are 20-days or less must be conspicuously displayed by merchants on signs clearly visible to the buyer from the cash register, posted by the store’s entrance, attached to the item or affixed to the cash register.
When it comes to online shopping, consumers should beware of increasing numbers of imposter websites that are easily mistaken as the websites familiar online retailers and brands. While some of these phony pages take consumers’ money and send nothing in return, others deliver counterfeit merchandise that may be damaged, worthless or dangerous.
Before buying online research the seller’s reputation and history online, and be cautious with sellers that appear to have no previous history. Walk away if a seller insists on hard-to-trace payment options such as wire transfers or gift cards.
“We encourage consumers to be especially vigilant with their personal information when making purchases online,” said Paul Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Think twice about clicking on unsolicited offers, prizes and official-looking emails that could be phishing attempts to trick you into providing personal information or gain access to information stored on your electronic devices.”For more holiday shopping tips and information on avoiding scams, visit the Division’s Website for a wealth of consumer briefs and educational materials.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect a store or retailer has committed a violation, can file an online complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs or call 1-800-242-5846 to receive a form by mail.