Eye on Scams: Use caution with “pop-up” shops during holidays

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The Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints a year about “pop-up” shops in retail spaces in downtown areas and malls.

Those complaints are about temporary retail locations, reporting everything from poor quality merchandise to difficulty obtaining refunds after temporary stores have closed their doors.

“Pop-up” shops can be fun, but experts want you to be mindful if you choose to buy from one of them.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “A lot of times, there are legitimate companies that open in those areas, but scammers also take advantage of that opportunity to “pop-up” a shop, hence the name “pop-up” shop during the holiday season in which they’re selling products that either aren’t of the quality you think they are. They’re counterfeit and not the product you think they are.”

The Better Business Bureau says scammers take advantage of shoppers most during the holiday season.

“A lot of times with counterfeit products which you’re going to notice is the pricing seems a lot cheaper than it normally would be so if it’s a “pop-up” shop, a business that doesn’t have a brick and mortar locations, that’s been around for a long time or you research the headquarters, and you really can’t figure out where that business came from, I would be very leery of purchasing a product from them,” explained Babin.

Experts say to do your research before you buy from a “pop-up” shop. Asking more questions upfront will save you money in the long run.

Babin added, “You buy a product, you’re buying things during the holidays for other people. Even if the products fine and there’s really no issues with it, if you purchase from a “pop-up” shop that’s not going to be there to service returns then that person that you gave the gift to might be stuck with something and not even be able to return it.”

The Better Business Bureau has the following suggestions to keep in mind if you choose to buy from a seasonal “pop-up” shop:

  • Research store headquarters. If you are interested in trying a new or unfamiliar online merchant, ask the company for its physical location.
  • Ask how long a store will operate. If you are buying from a seasonal store, ask whether it will be open after the holiday and whether it will accept returns when the season is over. 
  • Review purchase policies. 
  • Pay attention to the quality of the products you purchase.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.

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