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Your shopping rights

Whether you’re heading for the shops or buying online this Christmas, it pays to know your rights as a consumer

Everyone loves buying presents for family and friends, and treating ourselves to something in the sales! But what if the goods are unwanted, faulty or even fake? Can you always get a refund or replacement? Here, County News offers a few tips to help you be a “savvy” shopper over the festive season.

Girl with laptop doing shopping

Know your rights

  • Not sure if the present will be suitable? As a goodwill gesture, shops often allow refunds or exchanges on unwanted gifts. Make sure you ask about any returns policy when you buy, and keep the receipt.
  • You’ve got 30 days to return faulty or unsatisfactory goods for a full refund after that, you’re looking at a repair or replacement.
  • If you’re buying for someone else, ask for a gift receipt that will enable them to return the item, and check what conditions apply.

Get extra protection

  • If you’re buying something over £100, you get extra protection if you use your credit card, as the provider will also have legal responsibilities.
  • Don’t forget to clear the balance on your statement before any interest is charged. Take care online.
  • If you’re buying from an online marketplace or an individual seller (on Facebook, for example), many of your consumer rights don’t apply.
  • Items should be as described, but a private individual doesn’t have to tell you about any faults or offer a cancellation period. Read the product description and the returns policy carefully.
  • If shopping on a mainstream website, you have in most cases up to 14 days after receiving the goods to change your mind and get a full refund.
  • You also have up to 30 days to get a refund if the goods are faulty. After that, you may still be able to get some money back if goods go wrong within six months and can’t be repaired or replaced.

Beware of fakes

  • Shops and websites offering goods at knock-down prices can be tempting - but it pays to be suspicious!
  • These goods could be counterfeit, stolen or dangerous, so you’re unlikely to get value for money, and could even be putting yourself or your family at risk.
  • What’s more, the seller is unlikely to be around after Christmas, meaning you probably won’t get your money back if you have problems.
  • Remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Where to get help

If you aren’t sure about something, or want to check your rights, please get in touch with Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or at www.citizensadvice.


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