People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council’s Trading Standards team to stay safe online from scams and fake websites.
"Consumers have extra protection when they shop online," a spokesperson pointed out today (December 28).
" These rights also apply if you shop over the phone; or from a mail order catalogue; or from a TV shopping channel."
Whether shopping online or on the high street, consumers are also required to be informed of specific information before they enter into a contract.
The team offered essential tips, including:
Buying online (distance sales contracts) – traders must by law give certain information as well as cancellation rights.
Online retailers have to give details of who they are and provide a geographical address and an email address at which to contact them.
But "Read terms and conditions before you order!" – Check out terms and conditions regarding special price offers and sale items to ensure you are getting the price advertised. Also check for extra charges such as "delivery charges" which may not be added on to your final bill until you confirm your order.
Cancelling your order: "You can cancel your order for goods ordered online anytime from the moment you place your order up to 14 days after you receive it. However, traders can withhold a refund until goods are returned."
What you can’t return: "There are some items you can’t return if you simply change your mind, such as CDs, DVDs or software if you’ve broken the seal on the wrapping, perishable items such as food and flowers, and tailor-made or personalised goods."
Returning goods: "If an online shop doesn’t explain who pays to send returned goods back, then they must pay. Otherwise it is the consumers’ responsibility to return the goods to the trader no later than 14 days after cancellation. A business can deduct money from a refund if goods have been used beyond reasonable handling."
Refunds: "No fee may be charged for reimbursement of a refund and all payments should be made using the same means of payment , unless the consumer has agreed otherwise. Reimbursement must be made without delay and no later than 14 days after the trader receives the goods back or has supplied evidence of having sent the goods back."
Failure to deliver on time: "A consumer can treat the contract as at end if:
•the trader has refused to deliver the goods
•delivery of the goods within the time was essential, taking into account all relevant circumstances
•the consumer has told the trader that delivery within the time was essential
•in all other circumstances the consumer can make time of the essence and then bring the contract to an end."
Consumers can talk to an advisor for help and advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or by going to: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/
More info from Highland Trading Standards news page at: www.highland.gov.uk/tradingstandardnews