Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding is on hand to help shoppers if they end up with more – or less – than they bargained for this season:
New figures from Citizens Advice reveal the charity’s national consumer service is contacted by worried shoppers every nine seconds, totalling an average of over 3400 a day. Ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and seasonal spending, Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding is sharing its top tips to empower shoppers with the knowledge to shop confidently. This advice marks the start of its Consumer Awareness campaign (Monday 16 October – Sunday 22 October). The annual campaign is run by Citizens Advice in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), which includes Trading Standards and the Department for Business and Trade.
- Does it seem too good to be true?
If it seems too good to be true — it probably is. This is especially true for products which are ‘must-haves’ or are sold out in major retailers.
Be wary of sites offering big discounts, and ensure that you’re buying from the retailer’s official website so that you know it’s a genuine product. You can find out if a company is registered by searching their details on gov.uk. Sole traders (someone who runs their own business) and partnerships (where two or more people run a business together) don’t need to register with gov.uk, so you’ll need to do further research on their site to make sure they’re a genuine seller
- Check you’re buying from a trustworthy retailer
Do some background research into the company. Start with an internet search about the retailer and have a look at their official website. Make sure you find their return and refund policies so you can understand your rights if something goes wrong with your purchase. Find out how they can be contacted, where in the world they’re based and whether they’re part of a consumer protection scheme.
Seeing what others say about the retailer can help you find out if it’s a legitimate seller or not. But remember to look into reviews on other websites too, not just their official website.
- How do they want you to pay?
Be cautious when a seller asks you to pay by an unusual means such as in iTunes vouchers, crypto currency or via bank transfer. These are harder to track and lack the vital protections that you get when paying by debit or credit card or by a third party app such as PayPal. Whichever way you pay, make sure you check the terms and conditions to understand what you’re paying for.
- If something you ordered hasn’t arrived
If you bought something from a business to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If the seller used a courier, they should chase the courier 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. If the seller claims they’ve delivered it or don’t know where it is, you can ask for a redelivery. You might be able to get a refund in some circumstances.
Find out more information about your consumer rights using the Citizens Advice website.
National Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133