5 shopping traps to avoid

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The countdown is on to Christmas.

"It's much more difficult shopping at the last minute because the prices are higher and you usually just have to pay the price if you want to get something for someone," says shopper Gwendolyn Miller.

If you're planning to hit up the stores this week, there are some shopping traps you'll want to avoid.

#1-Deep Discount Come-Ons

The signs look tempting, but don't fall for every one you see. Just make sure you comparison shop ahead of time.

#2-Gift Card Gotchas

The rules have changed so you don't have to worry about expiration dates and inactivity fees.

However, some issuers still charge a fee to purchase the card.  What do you do? Give cash instead.

#3-Skip Extended Warranties

First of all, most things are covered in a standard warranty. Plus, experts say products rarely break within extended warranty windows.

You can also check with your credit card company. Some will extend manufacturer's warranties on anything you buy with them.

#4-Watch Out for Re-Stocking Fees

Popular with returns for electronic items, they range from 10 to 25%.  The best advice, don't open packages if you don't want what's inside.

#5-Pay Attention to Return Policies

Big merchants often give you 90 days and some even relax their policies during the holiday season.

Check the policy if you're unsure, and give a receipt along with the gift.  You especially want to pay attention to return policies if you plan to order online.  For example, at popular sites like amazon and overstock.com, if you wait 30 days or more to return an item, you'll get less money back.

So just make sure you do your homework, even if you're shopping at the last minute.

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