BBB Tips For Making Purchases At The State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is always a sure sign summer is drawing to a close. But in addition to being a great way to cap off a season of fun, it’s also a terrific platform for many businesses to showcase their products, inventions and ideas to enthusiastic fairgoers. The State Fair is an institution, and it’s easy to get swept up in all of the excitement and fun. However, as with all things, Better Business Bureau® of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) advises consumers to take their time and do their due diligence after listening to sales pitches.

“Many people wait all year for the State Fair – it’s a tradition,” said Susan Adams Loyd, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “It’s also an excellent opportunity for businesses to get in front of potential customers. We just want consumers to make wise purchasing decisions.”

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

  • Research companies for free at BBB.org. BBB Business Profiles are optimized for smartphones. Monday through Friday, you can also call 1-800-646-6222 to speak to live operators. BBB offers customers reviews as well.
  • Prior to making payment, get the company’s refund and exchange policies in writing. Also, ask about any guarantees or warranties.
  • Collect the company’s physical location and telephone number in case you need to return or exchange an item after the event.
  • It’s always a good idea to do some comparison shopping before making a purchasing decision. 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
    • 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 they should provide. 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.

“We’re all about businesses making the most of gatherings like the State Fair,” added Adams Loyd. “It’s a get-together with opportunities for all.”

BBB will once again be an exhibitor at the Minnesota State Fair, with a booth in the Education Building. The Fair runs from August 24 to September 4.