As the construction of Black Friday and December 25 begins, resident consumer lawyer Dean Dunham explains the purchases needed to protect your wallet and your consumer rights this season.
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Christmas shopping is in full swing and retailers are hoping to take advantage of the opportunity, so it is important that you know your rights as a consumer.
When it comes to shopping in-store and online, make sure you know the return policies – and how long you have to return the gifts.
Most importantly, educate yourself on what to watch out for to avoid a Christmas scam.
Here are the five key questions you need to ask yourself before spending your money with a merchant this Christmas.
1. Do you accept credit or debit cards?
If you can’t pay with a credit or debit card, my advice is to buy elsewhere.
These payment methods give you great protection if something goes wrong – with a debit card you can request a chargeback within 126 days of a purchase and with a credit card you can make a claim under the credit card. section 75.
2. What are my exchange rights?
Normally, you are not allowed to return merchandise purchased in a store just because you changed your mind or the recipient of your gift didn’t like it.
With online purchases, you have this right but must exercise it within 14 days of delivery.
That all changes with Christmas shopping, however, as most retailers have extended special exchange rights during the holiday season.
3. Is delivery guaranteed for Christmas?
It surprises consumers every year, so don’t assume that your Christmas shopping will actually arrive before Christmas.
Ask the questions and make sure you get the answer in writing.
4. Can I get a gift receipt?
This is a receipt with the price of the merchandise left blank; the idea being that you can give it to the recipient of your gift so that they can return it if they don’t like it or if there is a problem.
5. Am I the victim of a scam?
More people get ripped off during the Christmas shopping season than at any other time of the year, so it is important to be aware of scams.
Most scams take place online, in the form of bogus online stores, where scammers take your money but don’t send you the goods.
These websites are basically designed to steal your personal data.
Fraudsters also tend to flood the market with counterfeit and counterfeit products at Christmas. Buying from an unknown source will increase the chances of you falling victim to this scam.
If you wait until Black Friday before you start Christmas shopping, I’ll give you some tips and advice on that next week.
The scam of the week
Q: I bought a used vehicle from a major dealership. After ten days, a major fault light came on and it turns out that there is a big problem with the engine management system. What are my rights ?
A: As you are still within 30 days of delivering the vehicle you can invoke what is known as the “Short Term Right to Dismiss” under the Consumer Rights Act.
The onus is on you to prove that the car was faulty at the time of purchase, but it looks like you won’t have any issues with that.
If you prefer to keep the vehicle, you can request a free repair instead.