(WKBN) – You may not be aware, but the traditional holiday Advent calendar could be a pitfall for shoppers. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be careful.

The agency said Tuesday that the calendars are big business and some can cost hundreds of dollars, but there are some things you should know before buying one.

First, many advertisements for the product can pop up on social media and other places online. A lot of people have complained that some of those images of the calendars did not match what was shipped to them and some never received the calendars at all.

The calendars can have things like healing crystals, jelly beans, cosmetics, etc. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer.

 BBB recommends the following:

  • Shop early. Due to their growing popularity, the best advent calendars tend to sell out early. If an advent calendar is on your list, especially if you want one with a coveted brand or product, make your purchase early.
  • Compare calendars. Bundled products, such as advent calendars, are hard to compare across retailers. However, do some comparison shopping first to make sure you are getting a good deal on the type of calendar you want (for example, chocolate or toys). Consider what’s inside each calendar to determine which company offers the best deal.
  • Don’t expect a bargain. If you already buy something frequently, such as coffee or cosmetics, an advent calendar can be a fun, festive way to sample new flavors or products from a favorite store. However, retailers love advent calendars because they have high-profit margins, so don’t expect a good deal.
  • Buy from a reputable company, especially if you want to buy an advent calendar online. Make sure the online store has a reputation for good customer service, quality goods, and reliable shipping and handling. If customer reviews reveal that a company is struggling in any of these areas, make your purchase elsewhere.
  • Be wary of misleading ads. Scam e-commerce websites often promote advent calendars through enticing social media ads. Just because something looks good in the photo doesn’t mean it’s real. The same goes for glowing customer reviews. Always research a company before you do business with them to avoid falling victim to a scam.
  • Count the cost. Watch out for overpriced advent calendars. In recent years, some consumers have called out luxury brands on social media for not delivering adequate gifts in expensive calendars. Before you purchase one, find out what it contains. Consider whether the gifts are miniature or full-size and what each product might be worth individually. Then, decide if the calendar is worth its overall asking price.
  • Watch out for scams. BBB gets dozens of reports each year about advent calendar scams in BBB Scam Tracker. Deals that seem too good to be true are often a telltale sign of a scam. Be very wary of products that sell for significantly more money elsewhere or are sold out on well-known sites. Read more about advent calendar scams.