Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham is reminding consumers of their online shopping rights and sticking to a budget.
Citizens Advice has seen the number of people seeking help about online shopping nearly double in recent years.
Top tips to help consumers stay safe online:
If you change your mind about a purchase
If you buy online, unless it’s bespoke, made to measure, or you’ve broken a digital or hygiene seal, by law you will get an automatic 14-day cooling-off period. This starts the day after you receive your order, and there doesn’t need to be anything wrong with the item for you to get a refund.
If you buy something in person, shops aren’t legally required to accept returns for unwanted goods. Despite this, the shop may choose to have its own returns policy. If it does, they must honour it, so check your receipt.
Worried your purchase is faulty?
If something has gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you may be entitled to a refund. You’ll have legal rights if you unwittingly bought an item that is broken or damaged, unusable, not what was advertised or doesn’t match the seller’s description.
If you’ve bought a faulty item sellers must give you a refund if you return the item within 30 days. Your rights don’t end after 30 days, though after this period the retailer doesn’t have to refund you, instead they have the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product.
Worried about scams?
Be careful not to end up with a counterfeit item. Secure websites should start “https” and have a padlock symbol in the taskbar. Be wary of spelling or grammar mistakes, and companies that don’t provide an address.
Also seek out reviews of the seller from other buyers to help you decide whether or not you trust the seller. If there is a lot of negative feedback from other people, it’s often a sign that something is not right.
If you’re worried that something you’ve seen online might be a scam, you can get advice from a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0808 250 5050 – Mon-Fri from 9am to 5pm.
Problem with your Black Friday or Cyber Monday delivery?
With more people buying online, more people are experiencing delivery problems.
If you bought something to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If the seller used a delivery company, they should chase the company to find out what’s happened to your order – it’s not your responsibility.
Check the delivery address you gave the seller. Then contact them and ask where your order is. Be careful in selecting safe places; if you nominate a safe place and the parcel is stolen you might have lost the right to a replacement.
Sian Hiller, Chief Officer, at Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham shares her advice for keeping within your budget:
“With so many bargains around at this time of year, many people may feel the pressure to part with their money.
“It’s important that anyone thinking about turning to credit or taking out a loan to help pay for purchases understands the full costs involved and if they can actually afford to pay it back.
“If you are struggling with your finances, it may feel overwhelming but it’s best to do something about it as soon as possible. You can come to us at Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham to get free debt and money advice which can help you find a way forward and avoid spiralling debts.”
If you need advice you can contact Citizens Advice Edenbridge & Westerham via:
• FREE Adviceline telephone: 0808 278 7962
• Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk