Black Friday, and its younger cousin, Cyber Monday, marked the beginning on the holiday shopping season, with droves bargain hunters descending upon both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. Unfortunately, with the excitement of the holiday shopping season comes heightened risks that threaten to spoil this joyous time of year. Pond Lehocky offers some tips to keep everyone safe to enjoy the holiday season.
Products Liability and Risks
With so much shopping, it is possible that a product you purchase has a dangerous defect, putting you or your loved ones at risk. The product could have a faulty design, a production flaw or provide ambiguous or confusing instructions for use.
While governmental agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission do provide some regulation to help keep your family secure, they have proven to be insufficient. Many products that hit the market can still harm you and your loved ones.
For example, one issue in the news this holiday season is the presence of talcum powder in certain products. Talc, used in a variety of personal hygiene products like baby powder, has been found to contain asbestos and has been linked to ovarian cancer. Talc is. However, it is also often used in makeup and cosmetics.
Defective Products and Tips
The best way to ensure you don’t unwittingly purchase a defective product, here are some tips:
- Do some research! As Sam Pond says, “Knowledge empowers. Knowledge takes away fear. Don’t be ignorant. Don’t lack knowledge.”
- Know the ingredients in the products you purchase.
- Review the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of recalled products.
- Use online product reviews to identify potential hazards.
- Review information provided by consumer watchdog groups like World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), which publishes a list of the most dangerous toys annually.
Premises Liability and Risks
With the throngs venturing to stores and holiday events, the risk factor for slips, trips and falls increases substantially. In bad weather, floors can get slippery for rain, snow, ice and mud tracked in by fellow shoppers. In additions, shoppers may drop items or knock items from shelves.
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with non-slippery soles.
- Avoid rushing and stay alert.
- Always watch where you are going and look out for debris.
Know How to Stay Safe
In addition to shoppers, the holiday season draws thieves and other criminals. Here are some precautions you can take to ensure you are not a victim:
- Know your surroundings.
- Be particularly cautious going to and from your vehicle, especially at night.
- Park in well-lit areas and keep your car keys in hand when walking back to your vehicle.
- Place purchases in the trunk, out of plain view.
- Only carry the cash and credit cards you need. Don’t flash cash or credit cards for others to see.
Cyber Security and Identity Theft
Criminal opportunists are a threat online, too. Take the following steps to protect yourself:
- Know the seller and research the website.
- Make sure the seller is reputable by checking online feedback.
- Keep an eye out for grammatical mistakes, misspellings and broken links, all of which are signs the website may be less than trustworthy.
- Make sure the website’s URL is spelled correctly and begins with “https.”
- Monitor your credit card transactions.
- Check credit and debit card sales and return receipts against your monthly bills and statements.
- Report any problems to the credit card issuer promptly.
We Can Help
Pond Lehocky wishes you and yours a joyful—and safe—holiday season. If you have questions or should need legal help, fill out the form for a free consultation.