If you prefer shopping from the comfort of your own sofa - by phone, or over the Internet, then in National Consumer Week (12th to 16th November), Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service has the advice you need for a successful shopping experience.
Over £30 billion was spent by UK consumers online in 2006, and this year alone over 20% of all retail sales were made on the Internet*. However, in a recent national survey over half of internet shoppers were not aware of their home shopping cancellation rights.**
Mark Ryder, Head of Warwickshire Trading Standards Service said:
“As shopping from home becomes ever more popular, it will become ever more important for consumers to know their rights when they buy goods and services via the Internet or over the phone. In National Consumer Week, we will be raising awareness of home shopping rights and the obligations businesses have when they sell goods via the Internet.”
Our ‘Top Tips’ for Shopping Online.
Make sure you are using a secure website. Check for ‘https…’ in the web address and look for the padlock.
Check how long it will take to be delivered. This is especially important if you want delivery for Christmas.
Check your rights to return goods if you don’t want them. For most goods bought from a trader (not a private seller), you will have 7 days to return items, but this does not apply to all items. Read the returns policy. For faulty, damaged or misdecribed goods, your consumer rights still apply as long as the company is based in the EU.
Know what postage and packaging will cost.
Check you have the company’s contact telephone number and company address - this helps if you need to contact them if something goes wrong.
Keep the receipt and a copy of your order reference details.
If you have ‘won’ your items in an online auction from a private seller your consumer rights are very limited.
Check you have got what you ordered as soon as it arrives – don’t wait until you are ready to wrap your gifts to find out that it isn’t quite what you expected or isn’t suitable.
For more information, visit our website: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards
For clear practical consumer advice, phone Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.