12 November 2007
Caerphilly county borough council’s Trading Standards Service is advising consumers to protect themselves when buying online as part of this year’s National Consumer Week (12th - 15th November).
National Consumer Week is organised by the Trading Standards Institute and is supported by local authorities and Consumer Direct. It seeks to raise awareness of online rights, responsibilities and pitfalls under the theme “Shopping from afar? - Know what your rights are.”
Annual online spending has risen to more than £30 billion, but a worrying percentage of shoppers are unaware of their consumer rights and how to check that online traders meet legal obligations.
Top tips for shopping online:
Make sure you're getting a good deal
- shop around using price comparison sites and multiple search engines
- when comparing prices, check that the advertised price includes everything you have to pay, eg tax and delivery charges.
Know who you're dealing with
- check the trader's details on their website, including postal and email addresses
- don't assume '.uk' means that the seller is based in the UK
- read all trader reviews and help others by writing reviews.
- Check if the seller is a member of a trust scheme, such as Internet Shopping Is Safe (ISIS) or Safebuy as a sign that the retailer is committed to good practice.
Know your distance selling rights
- check your cancellation rights before making a purchase. Under the Distance Selling Regulations you can get a full refund on many products if you cancel within seven working days after the day of receipt
- if returning goods you are entitled to a refund of the original delivery cost but check the terms and conditions to see who will cover the cost of returning them
- traders are not allowed to deduct a restocking charge or administration fee for returned goods
- if you wish to cancel, you must take reasonable care of the goods you are returning
- check and keep all receipts, order confirmations and correspondence
- goods should be delivered within 30 days after date of order, unless you agree to a different delivery timeframe
- complain to the trader if you have a problem shopping online
- contact Consumer Direct if the trader does not resolve your problem
Protect your personal and financial information
- use security software and keep it up to date
- look for a padlock symbol or 'https' in the website address before inputting personal details
- if you use a credit card for purchases of £100 or more, you may get reimbursement from the credit card company if something goes wrong
- check your bank and credit card statements regularly and contact your bank immediately if you think your details have been disclosed
For further information and advice on distance selling contact:
Consumer Direct Wales on 08454 040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
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