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Black Friday tips

Today is the single biggest shopping day of the year. That’s why, after all, it has been dubbed Black Friday, because it is suggested that retailers are finally turning a profit rather than operating “in the red.”

Big chain stores and online marketplaces have been advertising their deals, but shoppers may not be aware of the fine print that can accompany such promotions.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently offered some tips to consumers who are looking for those holiday deals.

• Check the exclusions and limitations of an offer. Exclusions and limitations must be clearly disclosed in advertisements, including online, so review terms and conditions carefully before you go to the store or make a purchase.

• Find out if rain checks apply. If a seller advertises a product at a certain price but sells out of that product by the time you respond to the ad, you may have the right to a rain check. However, sellers are not required to provide rain checks if they clearly disclose the number of goods available at that price or if they clearly state that no rain checks will be given.

• Understand return policies before you buy. In Ohio, sellers can choose to set their own return policies, including policies of “no returns,” but they should clearly tell you what their return policy is before you check out or complete the transaction.

• Keep your receipts. Maintaining a complete record of a sale will help you handle problems that may arise after the purchase.

• Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity. If you find problems, immediately notify your credit card provider or bank.

• Watch for scams. Con artists operate year round. If you receive a message saying you’ve won the lottery, the IRS is coming to arrest you, or a family member is out of the country and in need of money immediately, it’s likely a scam.

As always, when you are shopping for the holidays, consider supporting local businesses in Lawrence County, especially in celebration of Small Business Saturday.