Staten Island Commercial Bank Highlights 10 Tips For Safe

Holiday Shopping

 

 

If you've only just begun your holiday shopping, Victory State Bank advises that you forge ahead as a smart consumer by staying in budget and keeping an eye out for fraud.

To help protect shoppers and support honest business practices, Staten Island's only community-based commercial bank is sharing the following tips from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs:

1) Know your consumer rights.

   Stores can set their own refund policy but they must post the sign with all conditions or limitations near the register where you can easily read it. If no refund policy is posted, you can return any unused item within 30 days, and the business must give you the choice of cash or credit.

   In New York City, a business must give you a receipt for purchases over $20 automatically and upon request for purchases between $5 and $20. A receipt may not show a credit card’s expiration date or more than its last five digits.

   Businesses selling goods must post prices either on the item or on a sign where the item is displayed. It is illegal to charge more than that posted price.

2) Create a budget and make a list. 

Don’t let holiday spending put you in debt. Decide what you want to buy and how much you want to spend in advance, start shopping early and watch your bank balance. You’ll be less likely to overspend if you pay in cash or with a prepaid debit card—but be wary of hidden fees with prepaid cards. If you’re struggling with debt and need help budgeting, make an appointment for free, financial counseling at the City’s Financial Empowerment Centers by calling 311.

3) Compare prices. 

Use websites, smartphone apps and social media to research products, compare prices, and find sales and discounts before you start shopping. 

4) Protect yourself when shopping online. 

Only shop on secure websites—use familiar websites or research and read reviews of new ones, and check that the website starts with https (not just http) or has a padlock icon. Avoid typing your personal information when using unsecured Wi-Fi. Also don’t click on shopping links from unsolicited emails or social media sites—type the address directly into your browser. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information on how to be safe, secure, and responsible online.

5) Know the rules about gift cards. 

Gift card funds must stay valid for at least five years from when the card was purchased or money was last loaded onto it. All fees must be listed and no inactivity or service fees can be charged if the card has been used within the past 12 months. If you’re buying an “experience” card (like a spa treatment, flight or hotel stay), buy one with a specific dollar value so you can benefit from these consumer protections. Even though there are more fee limitations, watch out for hidden fees; there is no cap on the monthly fee after 12 months of inactivity. 

6) Be on alert for holiday scams. 

It’s a busy time of year and unfortunately some scammers try to take advantage of people and their generosity. Shop at stores you know, research charities before you donate, protect your personal information and be wary of suspicious calls and emails. One scam this year is the Secret Sister Gift Exchange, which is posted on social media and encourages you to mail $10 to the person on the top of the list and, in exchange, you’ll get presents from other participants. This is an illegal chain letter—don’t fall for it.

7) Shop local and don’t buy counterfeit or “pirated” goods. 

Support New York City’s local economy by shopping at local retail stores and not buying counterfeit and pirated goods, which are illegal and jeopardize local jobs.

8) Get a delivery date. 

Secure a delivery date in writing before you leave a store. If retailers don’t specify a “ship by” date for your online purchase, they must ship within 30 days. Also, be aware of delivery charges via unsolicited email that require you to provide payment or personal information in return for your purchased goods that are in transit or are being held for you.

9) Check for recalls.

 To check if a gift or toy has been recalled, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov and click on the recall section.

10) File a complaint if you’ve had a problem the business won’t resolve. 

File a complaint with DCA at nyc.gov/consumers or by contacting 311. DCA mediators will help. You can file your complaint in multiple languages.

 

 

About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

 

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