BBB Tips For Making Purchases At The State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is always a great way to end the summer. It’s also a terrific opportunity for many businesses to showcase their products and ideas to enthusiastic fairgoers. While it’s all too easy to get caught up in the energy and excitement the State Fair delivers on an annual basis, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) advises consumers to take things one step – and one snack – at a time.

“We love the excitement of the Minnesota State Fair as much as anyone,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “But it’s important to remember the same rules you follow outside the fairgrounds should apply inside as well, insofar as performing your due diligence before purchasing merchandise.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers who attend the State Fair with an eye on making non-food purchases:

  • Research companies for free at org. BBB Business Reviews have been optimized for smartphones. Monday through Friday, you can also call 1-800-646-6222 to speak to live operators. BBB offers customers reviews too.
  • Prior to making payment, get the company’s refund and exchange policy in writing.
  • Obtain the company’s physical location and telephone number in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.
  • As with any purchase, do some comparison shopping before buying. Keep in mind, however, that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.
  • Don’t be pressured to buy. After the demonstration or sales pitch, give yourself some time to think about the purchase. This will help you decide whether or not the item is necessary and a good deal.
  • Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the State Fair. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item on the spot.
  • It’s important to note that the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling-off rule,” which normally allows consumers three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs:
    • Purchases under $25;
    • Goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family, or household purposes;
    • Insurance, securities, or real estate;
    • Motor vehicles; and
    • Arts and crafts.
  • If you are making a purchase where the “cooling-off rule” does apply, and you need to cancel a sale, sign and date a copy of the company’s cancellation form, which you should obtain upon purchase of the item. If you mail the form back to the company, be sure it is postmarked before midnight of the third business day after which you made the purchase. Sundays and federal holidays are not considered business days. Otherwise, bring the form in-person to the company within three days of the date you made the purchase.

“There are certainly many deals to be had at the Fair,” added Badgerow. “It all comes down to your budget and making decisions that you’ll be happy with when peace and quiet returns to the Midway.”

BBB will once again be an exhibitor at the Minnesota State Fair, with a booth in the Education Building. The Fair runs from August 25 to September 5.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.