Attorney General Lockyer Offers Consumers Holiday Shopping Tips to Help Keep Season Bright

Launches Series Of Helpful Hints To Be Posted On Web Site

Monday, December 13, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today launched a series of consumer tips for holiday shoppers to remind them of their rights, highlight potential hazards, and help them minimize the stress and maximize the joy of the season.

"As consumers cope with the hustle and bustle, they can forget about the importance of knowing their rights, taking adequate precautions and shopping smart," said Lockyer. "We're offering these tips to help ensure Californians enjoy all the happiness the season brings."

Over the next 12 days of the holiday season, Lockyer's office will post on its web site a dozen consumer tips, one each day. Today's alert covers gift certificates and notes, among other facts, that gift cards that can be used at a variety of stores may expire and tack on costly fees, unlike gift cards or certificates offered by a single store and its affiliates. Other topics will include:

*Store return policies: What you should know, and why you should know it.

*Identity theft: Keep your private information . . . private.

*Paying by credit card: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

*The 30-day rule and other special tips for online and mail order shoppers.

*The three-day "cooling off" period to return purchases: When you get it, and when you don't.

*Lay-away . . . or stay away?

*What warranty? Your right to see that claimed warranty before you buy the product.

*Special loan offers: Watch out. They can spoil your holiday and your new year.

*Stay out of unlocked rooms: A quick tip for safe journeys online.

*Whom can you trust? Future delivery or a vanishing vendor? Steps you can take to protect yourself.

*Proof of purchase: What you need to do now to be able to make a claim on a warranty later.

To view today's alert and subsequent tips, go to http://www.ag.ca.gov/consumers/alert.htm .

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