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BBB tips for getting a fair price at fairs


The Oregon State Fair is underway, and while attendees may be seeking entertainment, contests, good deals, and the ability to purchase arts and crafts, your Better Business Bureau is reminding people to protect their personal information and avoid making risky, impulse purchases at such events.

Some fair vendors may utilize high-pressure sales tactics to convince you to make a purchase on the spot. Others may lead you to believe you are receiving a major discount, but it’s important to take the time to research whether you are actually receiving a good deal. It’s possible you are overpaying for merchandise or that you may encounter issues returning an item or seeking a resolution if it turns out to be defective after the fair ends.

When you attend a fair, BBB advises:

As with any purchase, do some comparison shopping before buying, but remember that the least expensive item may not always be the best value. Don’t feel pressured to buy on the spot. After the demonstration or sales pitch, give yourself some time to think about the purchase. Ask the vendor if a sale will be honored for a certain time frame after the event. Research a vendor’s marketplace reputation by checking their BBB Business Profile at You can pull up their BBB Business Profile from your smart phone to confirm a company’s BBB rating, complaint history and accreditation status. Ask for a copy of the seller’s refund and exchange policies, terms and conditions of the sale and any warranties. Make sure you understand the fine print before signing a contract or putting down a deposit. Always pay by credit card when possible. Be selective about what information you share. There are often raffles and other offers at fairs that require contact and other personal information to qualify. Once you give out that information, you don’t know how the data will be protected, whether it will be shared with third parties or how it will be used. Note that there are exceptions to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule.” For example, the Cooling-Off Rule does not cover sales that are under $130 and made at temporary locations or arts/crafts sold at fairs or places like shopping malls, civic centers and schools. If your purchase is not covered under this rule, know that you are likely committing to the sale with little recourse if you change your mind.

For more helpful tips from your BBB, visit

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Northwest & Pacific, which serves more than 15 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Hawaii and Western Wyoming.

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