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Tis the season… to be a savvy shopper!

28 November 2016

Shoppers are being offered tips on how to shop wisely this Christmas, and avoid any festive pitfalls.

Trading Standards officers from Shared Regulatory Services – a local authority partnership with covers Bridgend County Borough, the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff – have the following advice…

  • Shop around for the best deals and prices because once you agree a price, you may not be able to return goods if you find them cheaper elsewhere.
  • Keep receipts/proof of purchase in case something goes wrong. Where possible, goods should be tested before wrapping them up as you usually only have 30 days to return goods for a refund. After this time, you may only be entitled to a repair or replacement.
  • Buying something over £100? For those big presents, consider paying for them on your credit card as you may have extra protection if something goes wrong. Also, don’t forget to check that you are using websites which encrypt their data when you provide your payment details.
  • Everyone loves a bargain, but if you don’t buy from reputable traders you risk receiving fake or unsafe goods, and you might not receive your order at all. Buying from unknown traders can also lead to not receiving orders or receiving counterfeit and/or unsafe items, so think about where you’re buying things from and stick to reputable businesses. Always ensure you know the postal address of the business so you can contact them if there is a problem.
  • Read descriptions for goods and services very carefully, so you know what you are getting, particularly when using online market sites featuring lots of sellers. Don’t presume anything and don’t be afraid to ask before you buy.
  • Order things in plenty of time for Christmas. Remember to allow time for any postal delays which can occur due to the weather and high demand, so put your orders in early - particularly for those ‘must have’ presents!
  • You usually have 14 days to change your mind when buying goods over the internet or other distance means, so if you want to send something back, you need to inform the seller within 14 days. Some goods are exempt such as personalised goods, so you don’t have any rights to return them once you have ordered them.
  • Don’t forget to save yourself some money and take carrier bags with you. Shops must charge a minimum of five pence for most carrier bags, and this could mount up!
  • You don’t have any right to return unwanted goods when you buy them in a shop, so you need to check if the store has a returns policy that will allow you to return items and keep your receipts safe and check over items to make sure they are not damaged before you buy them.
  • Don’t be pressured into making quick decisions by a salesperson. If you feel under pressure, don’t be afraid to walk away. Think about whether you actually want to buy the item. You can always return after you’ve had time to think rather than make a decision that you might later regret.

Councillor Charles Smith, the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “Many of us are now busily preparing for Christmas, with companies advertising the latest ‘must have’ presents and enticing us with their deals. Our advice is to shop savvy this Christmas, be aware of your consumer rights, and watch out for any offers which are far too good to be true.”

If you do experience any problems or have any pre-shopping enquiries, you can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice about your consumer rights and how to resolve disputes.

They can be contacted by calling 03454 04 05 06. Shared Regulatory Services will be notified of any unfair practices or breaches of your consumer rights. For further information about Shared Regulatory Services, please visit www.srs.wales

Last Updated: 28/11/2016
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