With so much to buy this time of year, scams and overspending can easily be on the rise. So here are some CitA tips to be a clever consumer.
The New Consumer Rights Act 2015
It’s worth understanding what your new consumer rights entitle you to before you buy, particularly if you are shopping for expensive items that you haven't bought before. To see these rights, click here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/know-your-new-rights/know-your-new-rights/
Cards longer than 25cm, wider than 16.5cm, thicker than 5mm or heavier than 100g need a costlier Large Letter stamp. If you use the wrong stamp the recipient may have to pay a surcharge for incorrect postage. If sending cards in coloured envelopes, write the address on a white label.
Read That Small Print
The Consumer Rights Act states that terms and conditions must be prominent, so important terms hidden in the small print may not be compliant. Check for hidden extras or any additional costs in any credit agreement or contract. Check for information on delivering goods or missed deliveries of goods.
Be Careful with Online sellers
If you’re buying from an individual seller on an online marketplace, many of your consumer rights don’t apply. Items should be as described, but a private individual has no legal duty to inform you of any faults or to offer a cancellation period. Read the product description and the seller’s return policy carefully.
You’ve got 30 Days to Return if Faulty
The short term "right to reject" enables you to return goods to a trader within a 30 day period for a full refund if your core rights have been breached. The burden of proof will be on you to prove that the goods are not satisfactory, fit for purpose or as described.
Protect Your Items
Prevent damage in transit with padded envelopes or bubble wrap. Send valuables with insured services like Royal Mail’s Special Delivery service so you can claim compensation if your item is lost or damaged. For more general items up to £20 request a free Certificate of Posting from the Post Office.
Last Posting Dates
The last Royal Mail posting dates for sending signed for items in time for Christmas are Saturday 19 December, second class and for Special Delivery Wednesday 23 December. Royal Mail will not be delivering or collecting post on Christmas Day, Saturday 26, Sunday 27 or Monday 28 December. To see a full list of last posting dates clikc here: http://www.royalmail.com/greetings
Consider Using Second Class Postage
Second class post is more cost effective and has a better delivery record at Christmas - if you plan ahead second class is far more likely to be delivered in three working days than First Class is in one working day. If you have a specific issue with sending or receiving letters or parcels this Christmas find out how to sort out problems on CitA’s problems with post page (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/post/post/problems-with-post/)
Returning Online Gifts
You can return most goods that you order online for up to 14 days after you received them for a full refund. You’re allowed to inspect what you’ve bought before returning, but the trader may deduct some money from your refund if you’ve used the product.
Most sellers give instructions on how to return items, and often include returns labels with your order. You usually have 14 days to return the item after telling the seller - check your terms and conditions.The seller has to refund the cost of standard delivery for the item. If you chose a more expensive delivery option, you’ll have to pay the difference.You don't have to return the item in its original packaging, but you do need to make sure it’s packaged in a way that means it doesn’t get damaged. Sellers can ask you to pay if something gets damaged because it wasn’t packaged properly or if you’ve reduced the value of the item.
If you are unsure that your consumer rights have been breached don’t hesitate to phone our Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 (Welsh: 03454 040505) Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm, except Bank Holidays