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Five consumer tips for Christmas

Keep Christmas time the season to be jolly with some tips from Trading Standards. 

From shopping scams, counterfeit dangers and knowing your rights for gift return don’t let the festive season be a nightmare.

1. Keep clear of counterfeit 

Counterfeit items such as, games, hair appliances, clothing and perfumes may be appealing because they seem to be a good deal but in reality they often come at a cost. 

The quality and safety standards of counterfeit items are poor and can be unsafe. Ensure that any toys you buy are CE marked and suitable for the child. Check for age restrictions and hazard warnings.

Always buy from a reputable company to make sure what you’re spending your money on is of the best quality.

2. Spot the scams

Christmas may be the time for good will for most; unfortunately there are people who look to take advantage of the generosity of others.

From online scams to charity collectors, be cautious when signing up or purchasing from any unknown company or charity. If you doubt the legitimacy of a charity collector you can check if the charity is genuine and registered online.

When shopping online, it’s best to buy from a reputable site, to ensure the product you’ll be getting is authentic and your consumer rights are not affected by a Sam website. Visit www.getsafeonline.org for tips on secure online shopping.

3. Do some Christmas calculations

Don’t over commit yourself financially. Do a simple income and outgoings calculation and work out how much you can afford to spend around the festive period. If you do get into financial difficulty please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/

4. Gift return policies

Not sure if the present you’re getting a friend or family member will be suitable? Ask what the Returns policy is before you buy and keep the receipt.    

As a goodwill gesture shops often allow refunds or exchanges on unwanted gifts. However they are not obliged to do so unless the goods are faulty!

5. Lighting up for festivities 

Most of us love to turn our homes into winter wonderlands with lights and decorations. However always ensure Christmas lights are turned off and candles extinguished when you are not around.

Also check that any decorative lights that you put outside the home are suitable for outdoor use.

If you have problems with goods bought over Christmas you can contact Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 for advice.