purchases

Research big-ticket furniture purchases with care

During the COVID-19 outbreak, online furniture sales has skyrocketed. This increase likely reflects the home improvements many homeowners are making, parents shopping for desks for home school learning, and employees who have permanently switched to a work from home situation.

Convenience aside, making large purchases online should always be approached with care. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers the following tips for consumers to help select quality furniture at a reasonable price as well as avoid a few common online shopping pitfalls:

Only shop with reputable retailers. Research a retailer’s page before deciding to do business with them. Reputable sellers provide information about their company and always have valid contact information. Look for company reviews online. For example, on BBBHouston.org, shoppers can find out if an online retailer is BBB accredited, read consumer complaints and reviews.

Understand the store’s return and refund policy, especially during the current pandemic. Return shipping for heavy items, such as furniture, can get costly. Some retailers may have special restrictions for delivery and returns because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before placing an order, read carefully or call the retailer directly to find out upfront if a retailer has a return policy, if refunds are available, how refunds are issued, what the return process is, who pays for return shipping, and whether or not a restocking fee is charged. This information will often help decide whether or not you will complete the order.

Get to know the delivery options. Typically, there are three kinds of shipping offered by furniture retailers and each one may have a different cost.


Front door delivery: the packaged product will be shipped to your front door and no further.

Inside delivery: the delivery person will take the packaged furniture into your home, sometimes into the room

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Big purchases for your business, should you use credit cards or loans

Personal loans or credit cards, which is a better financial product for making big purchases?

By: Hitesh Khan/

Image credit: Hloom via Flickr

Should you use a personal loan or credit card when making major purchases? Assuming that you have good credit and can qualify to borrow money, here are some things to consider when choosing between the two financial products.

Best interest would determine the financial product you should use for big purchases

The first thing most people look at when borrowing money is the amount of interest being charged. It usually isn’t a problem to find personal loans with fixed rates. Having a fixed interest rate means there won’t be any surprises when you receive your loan statement. You’ll always know exactly how much to set aside each month for your loan payments.

Credit card interest rates sometimes fluctuate. While you may initially be offered a low introductory rate when you sign up for a card, ultimately that interest rate will rise. So you’ll have to be ready to make higher payments when the rate changes. Another thing to consider is that being late with a credit card payment is likely to result in the interest rate being raised significantly.

Personal rates on loans do tend to be lower than what is offered for credit cards. But if you don’t have the best credit you won’t qualify for the lowest rates for a loan.

Where to get a loan

There are several places you can go for a loan. Banks and credit cooperatives are popular with many consumers. However, you may actually get more personalised attention when applying for a personal loan from a non-bank financial institution. A non-bank financial institution also may be more likely to reconsider a loan request that has been turned down for some

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