We've written this article to guide you through the tendencies on the market, top selling Christmas gifts throughout 2015-2017 and the scams related to some of them. We will also suggest some tips on how to avoid fraud.
Christmas is a favorite American holiday when all the families get together. It is the most commercialized holiday in the US. In terms of spending, it is also the most expensive event for an average consumer. According to Forbes, overall holiday spending reached $1 trillion in 2016. Surprisingly enough, according to the National Retail Federation survey, around 12% of people are last-minute shoppers. Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies trying to take advantage of the Christmas season. All sorts of scammers will use consumer naivety to earn a fortune on people who don’t have time to compare offers and to identify fraudulent activities.
Must Have Gifts of 2015
2015 was the year when an average American family spending on Christmas gifts got bigger than in any previous year - $800 per household. This year was also a year of gadgets – three of the best selling Christmas gifts were gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and a digital camera.
Sony PlayStation 4
This is a perfect present for those who are interested in entering virtual worlds and fighting with monsters. In addition to a console, you could also buy special certificates for games so that the person could choose the games to upload to a PlayStation console. Sony sold more than 5 million consoles during the last two months of 2015, and 2 years later they are still the leader on the market.
As in any other mass-market service, PS users frequently fell victim to various fraudulent activities related to hacking their accounts. Some of the accounts had been hacked by scammers with all the money withdrawn. Unfortunately, at the time Sony Customer Service wasn't quick at responding to customers' complaints and refund requests. And still it hasn't found any solution to this problem.
Xbox One 500 Gb
Xbox One also used to be among the top selling Christmas gifts two years ago. The most advanced gaming console with incorporated movie systems was boys' favorite that year. It was a new generation of Microsoft Consoles with top-notch multimedia features, voice commands, improved interface and a wide range of games available for download. In addition, it was sold together with a Kinect motion-sensing device to facilitate the gaming process.
GoPro Hero 4 Camera
Anyone who has heard at least a bit about travel blogging knows that a small smart camera from GoPro is a perfect gift. This flexible and portable camera has become an irreplaceable gadget for photographers taking scenic pictures, filming extreme sports and activities like parachuting exercises. Unfortunately, GoPro customer support team received quite negative reviews. Many issues arose while the customers were trying to fix their broken devices or exchange for some reason. Here is GoPro review we got from their angry customer:
"Now I was forced to deal with these rude agents. The agent I spoke to thankfully agreed to send me a new camera but only because we were still under the 1-year warranty. The agent failed to mention that the item would be refurbished and with no basic accessories that were included in the box..."
Pissed Consumer Tip: Call the customer service prior to the purchase to ensure that the company will be able to react to any of your problems promptly. To protect yourself against the refund policy tricks, you can check it in advance in order to be aware of the potential problem. Some refund policies are so complicated. You have to prove so many unnecessary details that it is better not to purchase a product at all.
The Best Selling Christmas Gifts of 2016
A company that followed in the Segway footsteps. They produce affordable self-balancing scooters and electronic hoverboards. Giving you speed and contentment with the result, this is a scooter that will get you anywhere you want for the short distances. That's why kids loved it. However, some of the pitiful things can always spoil your holiday: you could be a victim of a malicious refund policy. A year after their commercial success, Swagway recalled their self-balancing scooters and the reason for this was the risk that the gadget would burst into flames. Here is Swagway online review from one of the customers:
"I purchased a hoverboard from them on their website in Nov 2015 for Christmas for my daughter. There was a voluntary recall issued in August 2016 of which I immediately applied for… they refused to issue a refund. At that time they assured me the repair would be made and the hoverboard would be returned within DAYS of receipt. We are now mid-January and they acknowledged they received it in Nov, but ..."
Pissed Consumer Tip: Make sure that the gift you are buying is a product of the proper quality. Use websites like PissedConsumer.com or BBB.org to check the credibility of their company or brands' Facebook pages to learn about customers' impressions.
It was a very popular romantic gift for Christmas, according to Amazon. Oil diffusers can facilitate your breathing and help you relax, elevate your mood and even increase cognition. A large variety of oils that can be used is the reason why this item remains one of the top gifts this year. Taking into account the popularity of this device, many false advertisements appeared. The customers got hooked on a fake Amazon advertisement. Websites offering goods from "Amazon" but at lower prices –are definitely a sign that you can expect a scam.
Pissed Consumer Tip: Buy your gifts only from verified sellers and certified resellers only. You can check whether the website is credible by evaluating the website’s URL and content. Possible red flags:
- Domain names copying credible businesses (e.g., Amaz0n).
- Websites with odd domain names copying the design of actual businesses.
- Poor English (spelling, grammar and awkward phrasing).
- The absence of "Contact" page.
Top Christmas Gifts Trends in 2017
A monkey or any other toy animal hanging on your finger is quickly becoming a must-have gift for children and one of the top gifts this year. The toys are designed for boys and girls from 4 to 10 years old. As it is a very popular toy, the market is full of people who want to seize upon the high demand to earn money not caring much about the quality of service. Many customers experienced shipping problems while ordering their toys on the internet. Here's one of the reviews from a consumer, who has experienced shipping issues of fingerlings toys.
"My credit card was charged on oct.1st 2017 and here its nov.1st and still no Monkeys!! I tried contacting them to cancel my order only for them to send me a message saying they shipped it out ..when I try to get info on it they keep messaging me on messenger saying it could take 2-4weeks which I feel if my product wasnt shipped out why charge my card..I dont think that is right!!"
Pissed Consumer Tip: If you are only planning to buy this type of toys, beware of the above kind of situation. The best option would be to double-check the company, to try to call them and ask about their business. If they are not available or are not able to answer your question about the product and the company, stay away from them.
Ojo Smart Electric Commuter Scooter
Next generation of hoverboards for adults can become one of the top selling Christmas gifts. This device can reach up to 20 mph and reach distances of 25 miles on a single full charge. An eco-friendly and ergonomic transportation device is made specifically for the bike lane. The market of personal transportation is growing rapidly, so this scooter could be a great opportunity to get back home without getting into a traffic jam. There are no major issues with the company, it seems that consumers are happy with the quality of the product.
A must have gift for those passionate about tracking their health indicators. The reason why it has become one of the best selling Christmas gifts is that it is highly functional and affordable at the same time. A smart device that can monitor your workouts, heart rate, calories burned and track your sleeping activity. In addition, it can receive calls and has a powerful battery that can last up to 7 days. This could be one of the top gifts this year unless some unpleasant occurances. Some of the problems with this device may be bad quality of the product and poor customer service. Here's what customers say:
"…I requested and received a Fitbit Charge from my son for Christmas 2015.Within the 1st year (less than 365 days) it started falling apart.I emailed Fitbits Customer Service and was sent a replacement Fitbit Charge. Now the replacement Fitbit is falling apart…"
Pissed Consumer Tip: Check reviews on the internet prior to purchasing this must have gift. You might also want to check the reviews on YouTube – there are plenty of gadget reviews out there.
We hope that these gift ideas and tips on avoiding fraud and scams will be of use to you. In fact, many people still love receiving Christmas cards. This is because love and caring are more important than a gift. At the end of the day, Christmas is a family holiday, full of joy and excitement. Choose your gifts attentively and quite in advance. We suggest you checking more holiday tips to avoid disappointing situations.
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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal, medical, accounting, investment, or any other professional advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.