As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards is warning residents not to rush into hasty purchases but instead to do research first.
Warwickshire County Councillor, Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire & Rescue and Community Safety said: “We want to help ensure that High Street and online shoppers are fraud aware, know their consumer rights and what to do if things go wrong.
“Please make use of online traders you know and trust. You can look at their reviews and ask friends and family as many bogus websites appear at this time of year ‘selling’ popular and hard to find products only for the purchaser to receive a fake product or nothing at all.”
Always use a secure form of payment to pay for goods or services, for example PayPal. Never simply transfer money. For purchases over £100, consider using a credit card to give you extra consumer protection.”
Trading Standards has produced a collection of top tips to shop safely this Black Friday weekend:
- Don’t enter your card details into a website unless it is secure. Look out for the padlock sign and ‘https’ in the web address.
- Use strong, unique passwords for your email and shopping accounts.
- Keep your devices up to date. Make sure you install the latest software and app updates. These usually contain important security updates that can protect you against fraud and identity theft. Information can easily be found about how to install these updates from Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Even better, just turn on automatic updates so your device will update itself in future.
- Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). To give any online account additional protection, where possible, you should turn on two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is a way for the service you’re using to double check that you really are the person you claim to be, when logging in.
- If something you buy is faulty or misdescribed, you have 30 days to return it and claim a refund. After 30 days you must give the retailer an opportunity to repair or replace it before you can claim a refund. These rights apply when buying in store or online from a UK trader.
- You have extra rights when shopping online. You have a 14 day cooling off period to change your mind and return/cancel most goods or services purchased online from a UK trader. The goods don’t have to be faulty, but you might be asked to pay to return unwanted items.
- Buying from abroad? EU consumer protection laws are very similar to ones in the UK, but it is wise to check before you buy. If you are buying outside the UK, your protections will largely depend on the laws where the trader is based.
- Keep your receipts as proof of purchase and if you’re buying the goods as a present, ask for a gift receipt.
To make a consumer complaint or to obtain advice on your consumer right, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service: 0808 223 1133. For more online shopping and safety advice visit: getsafeonline.org and safeinwarwickshire.com/cyber-safe-crime-prevention-advice-leaflets.