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It’s “Cyber Monday” For Online Shopping

On-line retailers are expecting a surge in business today, on what has become known as Cyber Monday, a day many of them begin offering holiday shopping bargains.

Reanna Smith-Hamblin with the Better Business Bureau in Louisville says for online shoppers concerned about the risk of identity theft, it’s generally easy to determine whether you’re putting your information on a secure site.

“They’re going to encrypt the information that you send to them, when you put your credit card information. So basically what you need to do is look at the top and that web address, find out if it has an ‘s’ in front of the http: or an ‘s’ at the end of it. That means it’s a secure site. Also look for that padlock at the bottom of the screen at the right hand side. That would appear as well,” she said.

Smith-Hamblin says there are no laws regarding refunds and exchanges, so it’s a good idea to check the retailers’ policy before making a purchase.

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Local News

BBB Launching New Ratings System

The Better Business Bureau will launch a new ratings system for businesses Tuesday.

Charlie Mattingly with the bureau’s Louisville office says the new, nationwide letter grade system will replace the less-detailed scale of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

He says it’s been test-marketed in other parts of the country.

“There have been about five Better Business Bureaus that have been testing the ratings scale for the past three years, and there’s been a lot of work gone into trying to be sure it’s as objective and comprehensive as possible,”  Mattingly said.

Mattingly says the letter grade assigned to each business takes into account a company’s complaint history, how it responds to complaints, how long it has been in business and other background information.

The ratings will be posted on the bureau’s website, www.bbb.org.

 

 

 

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Local News

Bankruptcies Could Affect Gift Card Values

Many people have likely received gifts cards as holiday presents this week, but consumer advocates caution that with the current economic climate, it’s possible such cards could lose their value if the company that issues them goes bankrupt.

Charlie Mattingly with the Better Business Bureau office in Louisville says it all depends on the type of bankruptcy filed. He says companies in Chapter Eleven reorganization can typically continue to honor the cards.

“The risk there is that Chapter Eleven could be converted to a liquidation at some point.   And if it goes into liquidation, if the company actually closes its doors, the customer is going to be last in line at that point,”  Mattingly said.

Mattingly advises as a general rule to use gift cards soon after they’re received.

(Thanks to Dan Modlin,  Kentucky Public Radio/WKYU, Bowling Green)

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Local News

KY Attorney General Issues Price-Gouging Advisory

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says his office has fielded hundreds of complaint calls about price-gouging across the state in the wake of Sunday’s severe weather.

Spokesperson Shelley Catharine Johnson says an emergency declaration signed by Governor Steve Beshear Friday to prevent price gouging applies to numerous items.

“Which would include generators. The statute specifially mentions items such as consumer food items, goods or service used for emergency cleanup, emergency supplies, medical supplies, home heating oil, housing, transportation, freight and storage services and of course gasoline,” Johnson said.

Johnson says the attorney general’s office has been investigating reports of gas prices as high as $6.99 per gallon.

She says people who want to file a price-gouging or fraud complaint should contact the attorney general’s consumer hotline at 1-888-432-9257.

Homeowners who have questions about contractors who offer to do repair work should contact the Better Business Bureau.

In Louisville/Western Kentucky: 1-800-388-2222
In Lexington/Eastern Kentucky: 1-800-866-6668

More information about disaster scams can be found here.