Business Columns & Blogs

Use common sense when shopping at the Kansas State Fair

Riders spin on the midway of the Kansas State Fair in 2016.
Riders spin on the midway of the Kansas State Fair in 2016. File photo

September’s arrival means it’s fair time in Kansas.

From Friday, Sept. 8 until Sunday, Sept. 17, the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson is ground zero for State Fair fun.

The Better Business Bureau has tips for fairgoers who want to balance their corn dogs and deep fried Twinkies with a healthy portion of common sense.

Besides the rides, the livestock, the contests, the entertainers and the food vendors, the Fair is an opportunity for businesses to display their latest wares to a large number of potential customers. The BBB wants fairgoers to use a deliberate, level-headed approach to their decision making, no matter how dizzy those midway rides can make them.

Here’s how:

▪ Research businesses encountered at the Fair by going to bbb.org and making use of the business profiles there. Along with customer reviews found there, the information can be a valuable tool for assessing whether the company in question is reliable.

▪  Take your time when making a decision about a purchase. Sales pitches can be practiced and overwhelming. Your job as a smart consumer is to stay chill and avoid a quick decision. Walk around a bit. Talk with companions about it. Don’t let the high-pressure tactics overpower you.

▪ Find out if the sale price is good after the Fair is over. If so, wait a few days and see whether your enthusiasm diminishes. It very well may.

▪ Ask how long the vendor has been in business and where the business is located. No address and no phone number are red flags of a rip-off.

▪ Ask about warranties, refund and exchange policies and get everything in writing.

▪ Before going to the Fair, if there is an item you think you will be interested in that will be on display, research it online for reviews and price comparisons.

Cooling off rule

The Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule” means you can change your mind after the purchase. When “buyer’s remorse” kicks in you may be able to undo the transaction. Here are some significant points regarding the Cooling-Off Rule:

▪ You have 3 days to change your mind. That means you have until midnight on the third business day after the purchase to postmark your cancellation notice, or to bring it in person to the business.

▪ This rule applies to any purchase made away from the seller’s place of business, so State Fair purchases fall within this category.

▪ Purchases of $130 or more are covered.

▪ The purchase must be for personal, family or household use.

▪ Arts and craft purchases are not covered.

▪ You are not obligated to give a reason for changing your mind.

▪ If no cancellation form was given at the time of the purchase, you may write a cancellation letter.

Visit www.ftc.gov to find out more regarding the Cooling-Off Rule.

Think before signing up

It’s common to see opportunities to sign up for special drawings and contests at fairs. Keep in mind, however that it may lead to unwanted telemarketer calls. Technically by signing up you may be entering into a business relationship with the company which entitles them to call you later. In some cases your contact information may be sold to another company causing even more annoyance for you.

State Fair fun is an old tradition. Make part of your tradition being an informed fairgoer by keeping the above information in mind.

Denise Groene is director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. The BBB can be contacted at 800-856-2417 or bbbinc.org.

  Comments