Consumer champions will be presenting advice in East Dunbartonshire next week as people hit the shops - and the websites - for Christmas gifts.
The Council's Trading Standards team will be providing support and assistance to the public with information stalls at:
- Twechar Healthy Living & Enterprise Centre - Tuesday 13 November, from 10am to 2pm
- B&Q, Strathkelvin Retail Park, Bishopbriggs - Wednesday 14 November, from 10am-2pm
- The Regent Centre, Kirkintilloch - Thursday 15 November, from 10am-2pm.
This year 'Black Friday' takes place on 23 November, with National Consumer Week (NCW) kicking off on Monday 26 November - dubbed Cyber Monday due to anticipated Internet shopping activity.
This year's NCW will particularly highlight that consumer rights can be different when buying from an online marketplace where traders and private individuals sell goods.
Councillor Billy Hendry, Convener of the Council’s Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets Committee, said, "With Christmas shopping on many people's minds, this is the ideal time to remind residents of their consumer rights - whether they are buying online or in person.
"I hope as many people as possible will be able to go along to see the Council’s Trading Standards team at the information stalls next week.
"Don't worry if you can't attend - free consumer advice and assistance is available for all East Dunbartonshire residents. There is also a free business advice service too.
"Whilst there are increased calls to Trading Standards about faulty gifts after Christmas, it is important to check any goods you buy online before 25 December as time could be a factor in securing a refund or replacement.
"Consumers should be aware that specific rules and cancellation rights apply to online purchases so if you are in any doubt, please contact Trading Standards to ensure you are not left out of pocket."
East Dunbartonshire’s Trading Standards team can be contacted by calling 0300 1234510 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on NCW, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/NCW18/ or search for #NCW on social media.
- Online marketplaces are platforms (websites/apps) which generally don’t own the goods being sold. Instead they are a place for people and traders to sell items online.
- In 2016, £154 billion was spent via the Internet in the UK. While many online sales are with established businesses, a significant proportion are from small or private sellers via online marketplaces.
- While there are benefits, people are having a range of problems when using online marketplaces.
- Main issues reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service were:
- Being sold faulty goods or goods that became faulty shortly after sale
- Goods not arriving or not being sent by the seller
- Goods being mis-described in sales adverts.
- When problems occur, consumers often don’t know their rights might be different.
- What are my rights?
If you’re buying from an online trader your rights are the same as if you were buying from any other online store. You normally have up to 14 days after receiving your goods to change your mind and get a full refund.
If there is a problem with your item within the first 30 days from date of purchase, you could get a refund, replacement or repair. If it can’t be repaired or replaced, then during the first six months in most cases you’re entitled to a full refund.
If you’re buying online from an individual seller, the principle of ‘buyer beware’ applies. Goods have to be how they were described to you by the seller, but the seller doesn’t have to disclose any faults. The seller can’t misrepresent goods though – for example claiming something used is brand new.
- What can I do if I have a problem?
Contact the seller to try to resolve the issue and check the online marketplace's terms and conditions - these will sometimes offer you more protections. If the seller arranged delivery and the item hasn’t turned up or was delivered to the wrong location, it’s the seller’s legal responsibility to sort out the issue.
Some traders belong to an alternative dispute resolution scheme, which means they offer a way to solve your problem without going to court.
- What if I have a problem with a private seller?
Try to resolve the issue by contacting the seller directly first, but if you can’t:
- Check whether the online marketplace has its own protection and dispute resolution systems
- Consider making a claim to the court – this is sometimes called a ‘small claim’.