BBB says examine holiday ads carefully

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Looking for items on sale is one of the most important things a smart consumer can do this holiday season.

Of course, you can do it the old-fashioned way and do all your comparison shopping on foot.

But don't forget about all those ads that usually come inside your newspaper and in your mailbox.

Just remember, you have to read the fine print.

And that's the first tip from the Phoenix Better Business Bureau. Examine the ad carefully and look for any pitfalls.   

Next, look for "limited time," which may be attached to the ad. Some ads are only good on certain days or during specific hours.

You also have to be careful with anything that says "free."

If you have to buy something in order to get the free item, it has to be clearly disclosed in the ad.

Watch out for ads that say "money back on price difference."

Does the store offer a refund on the difference if it's cheaper at another business? And does that refund come as cash or a gift card?

And, finally, are you really saving like you think you are?

A large percentage off sounds awesome, but if the price is high to begin with, it's not much of a deal.