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Avoid distractions when making costly purchases at fall fairs

CROMWELL – Connecticut Better Business Bureau urges consumers to avoid distractions when making costly purchases or signing contracts.

Aside from fried dough, tie dye shirts, the midway and craft booths, larger vendors set up shop on fairgrounds to offer services and merchandise such as hot tubs, wood stoves, and installation of replacement windows and doors. Some items can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. BBB recommends consumers avoid making snap buying decisions without being prepared.

“Fairs offer many tantalizing treats, hours of entertainment and big ticket items, however, there can be problems when consumers sign a contract or put down a deposit on impulse,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz. “We have to be even more prepared than usual because of the environment and its distractions.”

Some big ticket vendors are local, while others travel the fairground circuit. They may offer some items at clearance prices or show their newest merchandise. While most vendors are ethical, consumers are advised to watch out for the warning signs of high pressure sales tactics, such as a “today only” discount. Without doing research in advance, there is no way of measuring what constitutes that discount.

“The only way to know who you are dealing with and what you are buying you are at a disadvantage.”

Potential problems may include product defects, warranty issues, problems with delivery, payment, installation and difficulty contacting the seller.

BBB’s Six Tips for Fall Fair Purchases:
Prepare yourself before going to the fairgrounds – Check the vendors’ list on the fair’s website. Research a seller on the spot by checking their business review at bbb.org on your smart device to make sure they are legitimate and find out what other consumers’ experience has been like.

Take your time – A seasoned, ethical vendor will give you the time you need to consider making a purchase. That includes checking product reviews, which are especially important for new merchandise or models.

Get complete contact information – It could make it more difficult to resolve a problem if they are located out of state. If they are travelling the fair circuit, you might want to consider purchasing locally instead.

Get all verbal promises in writing- This would apply for example, if you would like to buy from someone who sells and installs windows or does other renovations.

Know your rights – If you get buyer’s remorse, the federal Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel a sale made at a seller’s temporary location, such as a hotel or motel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant. It also applies when you invite a salesperson to make a presentation in your home.

You will find a list of country fairs through this link.

Regardless of whether you make a big ticket purchase or not, remember to leave time to enjoy the rides, the food and the fresh air.

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