With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season fast approaching, Citizens Advice in Dorset has released top tips to remind bargain-hunters how to shop safely online.
Citizens Advice in Dorset’s top tips for shopping wisely:
- Do your research: Before buying from a site you haven’t used before, spend a few minutes checking it out. See what people have said about the person or company you’re buying from by looking at reviews on different websites – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website. If you’re worried that something you’ve seen online might be a scam, you can get help from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline
- Be wise to scams in disguise: If a bargain seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it’s branded but a lot cheaper than it appears on the brand’s website, it could be fake. It could be a legitimate ‘look-a-like’ product. Either way, it might not be the quality you were hoping for
- Ways to pay: Beware of a seller who asks you to pay by direct bank transfer. Bank transfers have limited protection if things go wrong, so avoid using them. You should only send and receive money through the online marketplace app or website using a debit or credit card, or via trusted methods of payment such as PayPal
- Know your rights: If you’ve bought from a retailer you might be entitled to a replacement product or a repair of your faulty goods. You can even claim a full refund if you can prove the goods are faulty. If you’ve bought from an individual, perhaps via an online marketplace, you have far fewer rights. In fact, you have no right to return, so long as the goods are ‘as described’. Always be sure to take a screenshot of the description, and be sure to check and double check before you buy
- When things go wrong: Sometimes things just don’t go to plan. If you’ve bought something that is broken, damaged, unsafe or not what you expected then contact the seller and give them a chance to put it right. If that doesn’t work – reach out to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline
The top tips mark the start of National Consumer Week (Monday 14 November – Sunday 20 November). The annual campaign is run by Citizens Advice in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), which includes Trading Standards and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Bridport & District, said:
“Across Dorset purse strings are tightening and financial pressures are increasing every day. With sales season fast approaching, it’s vital we recognise the red flags when trying to bag a bargain in the run up to the holidays.
“Anyone can be a victim of a scam, and even the savviest of shoppers can be left getting less than they bargained for. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed if you’re caught out. By knowing how to shop wisely, and what to do if something goes wrong, we can better protect ourselves and each other.”
For free, confidential advice and support, call the Dorset Adviceline on 0800 144 8848 or visit www.citizensadvicedorset.org.uk for details of your nearest Citizens Advice.
Note to editors
- National Consumer Week is an annual campaign which aims to raise people’s awareness of specific consumer issues, and provide support and advice for those who need it
- Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service
- Our network of charities offers impartial advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free
- To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
- For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh
For more information contact: Sian Smith, Comms Officer, email: [email protected]
About Citizens Advice in Dorset:
Citizens Advice in Dorset provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to find a way forward whatever problems they face. We value diversity, promote equality, challenge discrimination wherever we see it and aim to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
Citizens Advice in Dorset is located across three regions:
- Citizens Advice Bridport & District bridportca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
- Citizens Advice Central Dorset centraldorsetca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
- Citizens Advice East Dorset & Purbeck edpcitizensadvice.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848