Wisconsin BBB gives tips for back to school technology shopping

Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 10:29 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As the demand for classroom technology increases, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau said online customers are more vulnerable than ever to shopping scams.

According to the BBB, the pandemic era of learning brought a change in the educational landscape, especially highlighting technology’s role in the classroom.

“Digital learning tools are replacing traditional school supplies, driving tech sales up 37% YoY,” market researchers from Deloitte said.

The BBB said shortages of supplies like computer chips may especially expose online shoppers looking for cheap, reliable technology to scams.

Shoppers may also be targeted with phony deals, ads and attractive but fake websites in these scams, the BBB said.

BBB experts said those looking for a good deal on cheap but quality classroom technology online should be wary and take these pieces of advice:

  • Shop with retailers you know: If you are online shopping, BBB said significant investments like laptops, tablets or other accessories should be bought from businesses you know and trust to ensure good quality and service.
  • Look out for imposter brands: BBB said fraudsters may use the name, logo or other characteristics of brands that people trust— consumers should closely examine a website and verify before making any purchases.
  • Approach low prices with caution: Great deals and short-term sales could signal a scam. As always, the BBB said, if the price seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Know the brand: The BBB said some companies rarely even offer sales. If a site offers a discount, the product could be used, refurbished or a scam.
  • Know what you’re shopping for: The BBB said setting a budget, determining your needed features and comparing options while searching for a reliable seller will usually result in a reliable purchase.
  • Know your seller: Some big box websites let smaller sellers list items on their websites. The BBB said shoppers should watch out for who exactly they’re buying a product from.
  • Shop early: The BBB said the best way to avoid supply shortages is to do technology shopping now. This can also prevent higher pricing and scamming.