Don’t Be Haunted by a Halloween Purchase Gone Wrong

Oct. 21, 2013

Pop-up stores and websites offering Halloween costumes and decorations seem to come out of nowhere every fall. Before falling for a trick, rather than a treat, Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin advises shoppers to research unfamiliar stores or websites with BBB before buying.

Every year, BBB receives hundreds of complaints from consumers shopping from costume stores, both online and in-person. Complaints from consumers shopping online, range from undelivered orders to difficulties obtaining refunds for cancelled orders. Complaints regarding in-store purchases involved unclear return and exchange policies, damaged products and missing pieces.

In some cases, customers found stores closed when they returned to report a problem.

BBB offers these tips to help you avoid being haunted by an unwanted product this fall:

•Do your research. If you're interested in trying a new or unfamiliar online merchant, check the company’s BBB Business Review free at
•Beware of absent policies. Determine the company's refund and return policies before you buy. If companies can’t offer information on how they handle problems with their products or services, reconsider doing business with them.
•Anticipate the charges. Be sure you have a thorough understanding of everything involved before placing an order. Be clear on the price and any shipping and handling charges. Know the terms of any product or service guarantees.
•Consider timing. Consumers purchasing Halloween costumes have just about a week to get their orders in. Consider the shipping times. Find out how long it will be before you receive your order. Federal law requires that goods and services be delivered within 30 days, unless a different delivery period is specifically stated by the merchant.
•Purchase safely and securely. Only provide your credit card number online in a secure environment. Look for the prefix “https://” in the URL to be sure that the site you are using is secure.
•Ask about post-holiday policies. If you’re 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. If not, consider buying elsewhere or taking more time to be sure the item is exactly what you want before making the purchase.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Everything you need to know about the holiday train's Wauwatosa stop 01:08 PM

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Would it be OK to see state-football games played other than in Madison? 12:13 PM

» Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in November 11:00 AM

» Wauwatosa firefighters captured on video battling car flames 11/30

» German retailer VOM FASS opens at Mayfair Mall 11/30

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 11/30

» Wauwatosa man involved in fatal Dane County crash 11/30

» Stone Creek Coffee looks to open new Wauwatosa shop on Harwood Avenue 11/30

» 10-year-old girl dies after freeway crash in Dane County 11/25

» Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options 11/25

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team uses big second half to beat Wisconsin Lutheran 11/25

» Plenty of positives in Wauwatosa West girls' basketball loss to Kettle Moraine 11/25

» Wauwatosa East boys basketball team could battle for GMC title 11/25

» Wauwatosa West swimming team has bright future with talented underclassmen on the rise 11/25

» MacGillis, Barkow share Wauwatosa West boys volleyball MVP honors 11/25

» Wauwatosa West boys basketball team looks for improvement 11/25

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Wauwatosa East volleyball season has solid season despite just missing another trip to state 11/25

» Wauwatosa Hurricanes return three state qualifiers — Danny Larson, Cal Hartt, Avery Weishoff 11/25

» Milwaukee County Zoo celebrates first birthday of young gorilla 11/24

» Wauwatosa stores set Thanksgiving, Black Friday hours 11/23

» Tosa's city health department earns national accreditation 11/23

» Free screening of 'Most Likely to Succeed' held Dec. 1 11/23

» Wauwatosa stores launch Small Business Saturday event 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.


Local Business Directory