Troubleshooter: Don't get scammed when buying Halloween costumes

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Don't get scammed when shopping for Halloween costumes, Troubleshooter Diane Wilson says.

With Halloween just a few weeks away, people are trying to find the best costumes, but when you're shopping online or in seasonal stores, some of the deals might end up being more of a trick than a treat.

If you see a pop-up Halloween shop, the president and CEO of the North Carolina Better Business Bureau, Mallory Wojciechowski, said to make sure you do your research so that you don't get spooked by a bad deal.

"There are a lot of pop-up stores that we see, temporary stores, also temporary websites. So you have to be careful when you are making these purchases," she said.

Wojciechowski said to ask the store manager what the refund policy is before spending big bucks on a costume. If the store isn't local, ask where their physical headquarters are and how you can contact them after the fact.

If you have any problems with the merchandise, deal with it as soon as possible, before the store disappears.

"Unfortunately, we may have an issue and the season has passed by and many people don't know what to do at that point," Mallory said.

In the era of online shopping, Mallory said pop-up ads on social media and flash sales can easily lure you in. "We receive complaints from consumers every year who have purchased items they never received or may have come damaged, and this company sometimes is long gone," Mallory said.

Read the reviews from other customers and check the store rating on the BBB website.

If there are lots of complaints, that shop might be more of a trick than a treat.

Also, before paying on any website, make sure it's secure.

Look for the "https" in the web address or the lock symbol in your browser.

If you pay with a credit card and the costumes never come, you can always dispute the charge.
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