Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of holiday kiosk gifts

(Toledo News Now) - As we get down to the wire on our holiday shopping, the easiest way to grab a gift is to stop by one of the specialty Christmas shops at the local mall. But every year, many of those shoppers end up getting burned when they have a problem with the gift.

If you've been to any mall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed all the new kiosks popping up selling Christmas gifts, calendars, and toys. Some vacant stores have now reopened as toy stores.

But heed caution before you buy from any of them.

Temporary Holiday Stores And Kiosks

Walk through any mall in December and you'll find all sorts of holiday kiosks, and even temporary toy stores.

But buyer beware. If that toys breaks, you can be out of luck.

Two years ago, Shannon Long tried to return a broken remote control helicopter.

"Went back to the mall, they were gone!" said Long.

This holiday season, the temporary stores - and cheap helicopters - are back.

Broken Toys

Larissa Williams just bought a remote control chopper for a gift. As soon as she got home, she realized it had been opened, used, and broken.

"I was missing pretty much everything and the helicopter was broken," said Williams.

The good news: The store was still there.

The bad news: The store has a policy of no cash refunds.

"They sold me a broken toy. I would have preferred my cash back, but an exchange was the only option they gave me," explained Williams.

Indeed, in the fine print the receipt said "No refunds, or exchanges. Store credit only." That means you cannot get your money back if the toy is junk.

What To Do

So with any holiday store:

-Ask about their return policy.

-Ask if you can get a refund.

-Find out if they will still be there after Christmas. In most cases, the answer is no.

Bottom Line

There's nothing wrong with buying from a temporary store. Some of them sell the perfect gift.

But many of these holiday kiosks are run by out-of-town companies that close up shop on Christmas Eve, never to be heard from again.

Be careful, so you don't waste your money.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.