CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Many customers are about to spend big money for gifts or even charity.
So Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke spoke with Attorney General Roy Cooper and the Better Business Bureau to find out very specific advice before handing over your money.
As stores like Premier Soccer get ready for the holidays, Cooper said you should prepare too especially if you shop online.
"So many times, it's a scam artist," Cooper said.
- Compare prices when shopping online.
- Make sure to use a secure, encrypted website.
- Beware of extended warranties and make sure they're really worth it.
- Rely on businesses you know.
- Ask about return policies.
- Make sure there's no restocking fee to take items back.
- Know the delivery dates.
And, as strange as it may sound, use your credit card when you can.
"Credit card purchase sometimes will protect you if the item doesn't show up," Cooper said. "If there's something wrong the item, if the retailer doesn't do what they'd said they were going to do."
Much of that advice goes for donating to charity after all, 70 percent of all donations happen this time of year.
"Give, but give wisely," said Tom Bartholomy with the BBB.
Bartholomy has heard a lot of concerns these last few weeks especially with the tragedy in the Philippines.
Bartholomy and Cooper said before you give, check the BBB's website and nonprofit watchdogs like Guidestar.org to make sure the charity is legitimate and how much of your money actually goes for the cause.
"You pick the website, you pick the charity, you pick the merchant from which you should buy," Cooper said.
In other words, do it on your terms not theirs.
If you've been ripped off, overbilled or misled; or if you see something that is hurting all consumers, contact Action 9.