With the cost-of-living crisis hitting many people hard, it’s more important than ever to keep your wits about you when shopping online this Black Friday, Cyber Monday and for Christmas gifts.
A set of top tips to remind bargain hunters how to shop safely online has been produced to mark National Consumer Week, which runs this week (Monday 14 November - Sunday 20 November). It is an annual campaign run by Citizens Advice in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), which includes the UK International Consumer Centre, Trading Standards and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
In the last year, Citizens Advice’s consumer service has seen one case every two minutes of someone buying potentially faulty products online. And it's one of the top areas of complaint received by the International Consumer Centre.
UK consumers should remember that they can contact the UKICC for free and impartial advice if they have encountered problems buying goods and services from outside the UK. The UKICC service is delivered by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute
John Herriman, Chief Executive at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) – which delivers the UK International Consumer Centre service, said: “The reality for many families this festive season is that the cost-of-living crisis is putting huge financial strain on just getting by from month to month, with very little, or no cash spare for treats. But it’s no surprise that parents still want to create the magic at Christmas with a pile of presents under the tree, and to do that they may look to buy toys and goods from online retailers and marketplaces.
“It is a sad, but true fact that not everything we buy online will keep our families safe, and although Trading Standards work hard to make sure safe products do not make it onto UK marketplaces, the scale of the problem is just too vast. National Consumer Week is the perfect time to remind consumers about shopping safely online, and I like to refer back to the golden rule of ‘if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is’.”
UK consumers can get in touch via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.
For more advice about shopping online, check out the UKICC’s website for more information: Shopping Online | UKICC - The UK International Consumer Centre (ukecc.net)