Consumer Alerts

    A Little Homework Can Save a Lot of Money


    July 27, 2016

    Teachers are beginning to decorate bulletin boards, school officials are mapping out daily school bus routes and parents are back-to-school shopping. From school supplies to new gadgets and clothes, parents can quickly go over budget.

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to help parents get the most out of their money when purchasing school supplies.

    “Back-to-school time is busy and can be financially stressful for parents,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But it doesn’t have to be. A lot of money can be saved by doing your homework to find the best deals and only buying the necessities.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for parents who are back-to-school shopping.

    • Stick to the teacher-approved school supply list. Do not waste time and money on unlisted, impulse items that may never be used.
    • Research prices ahead of time. Use price comparison apps or websites to check best available prices in real time. Or shop end-of-summer sales. Also consider that many stores will price-match better deals from other retailers.
    • Check school supply deals at supermarkets and scope out the office supply items before going to the back-to-school section. More items could be in stock for a better price.
    • For larger, more expensive items like sports equipment, electronics or musical instruments, consider buying used or refurbished.
    • Ask about and understand a store’s return policy, and remember that sometimes a box cannot be returned once it is opened.
    • If shopping online, only purchase items on a secure website. Determine whether a website is secure by looking for a “lock” icon in a browser’s status bar and the letters “https” at the start of the website’s URL.
    • Consider paying for online purchases with a credit card. Consumers are allowed under federal law to dispute those charges and cardholders may have no liability if a card is stolen and used.

    Some providers and companies offer student discounts on wireless service, cell phones, tablets and other electronics. Check with the provider to determine available discounts.

    Arkansas’s sales tax holiday, which suspends state and local tax on certain school supplies and clothing, is Aug. 6 and 7.

    According to the National Retail Federation, families spent nearly $70 billion in back-to-school and back-to-college spending last year. Meanwhile, they estimate $630 in spending per child in grades K-12.

    For more information on keeping your finances secure and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General's office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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