Big holiday sales don't always mean great deals

PHOENIX - Cars, mattresses, whatever it is, you've probably seen more ads about super sales, because it's the 4th of July.

Stores take advantage of holidays to lure shoppers with great deals.

But how do you know the sales are that great? How do you protect yourself?

Before I step foot in the store, I run an internet search on the business looking for complaints.

I go to sites like the Better Business Bureau and .

I look for complaints.

Sometimes, I even find a government action against a business.

Then you should call the place.

Ask about the ad you saw. If it's a car dealer, ask how many models they have on the lot at that price.

Sometimes it's only one.

When you do arrive, watch out for the old bait and switch.

You might hear "oh, we just ran out of that product or model, but we do have this over here."

Try not to buy right away. 

Get the price, and check various stores and online first.

Take time to read the fine print and understand exactly what you're signing BEFORE you sign or agree to pay anything.

Make sure to know the stores refund policy and get it in writing. 

When you shop online, you want a secure site.

Look for an "s" in the address bar as in https.

Also, if you can, pay with a credit card. 

They offer more protection than debit cards if you have a problem with the purchase.

Make sure to get a receipt and some stores will e-mail you one as well. Ask for that.

Bottom line, while July 4th may bring out some great deals, the warnings are the same anytime you buy anything.

Need my help?

Call 1-855-323-1515 and talk to the Assistance League of Phoenix volunteers live Wednesdays and Fridays 11-1. You can leave a message anytime.

You can also send me an e-mail , a tweet , or like my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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