Saturday 18 November 2017

Smart Consumer: Know your rights when you're shopping this Christmas

Tina Leonard

Your consumer rights are the same all year around, but given the crammed shops at this time of year and the potential for last minute panic buys, you've got to stay sharp. So stay on the ball with these tips.

1 Anything you buy should work as it's supposed to. If the life splutters out of the toy on Christmas Day or your new fancy shoes fall apart after the first party, bring them back to the shop and ask for a refund.

2 If something does go wrong, do act promptly. Your rights diminish with time, so the sooner you bring that faulty camera back the better.

3Ask in every shop what their returns policy is.

That will be up to the shop and some shops offer better returns policies than others. So check in advance to avoid turning up after Christmas with the dodgy jumper you bought at the last minute, only to be told they don't do returns.

4 Good retailers will offer gift receipts that you can give with the present. Sure your friend might hate the gift, but won't you be glad they can use the gift receipt to return or exchange it?

5 It may already be too late for guaranteed delivery before the big day on some web sites, so

triple check the last order date for Christmas.

6 If you've ordered online from outside the EU, make sure the package isn't held up while you are questioning why you have to pay more to collect it.

You have to pay VAT and customs duty on most goods purchased outside the EU, so calculate the cost at before you purchase.

7 Remember your cooling-off period for online purchases. If you've taken delivery of something you bought online and it isn't what you want don't fret.

You have seven days after delivery to tell the web trader you are sending it back for a refund, and you don't have to give any reason at all.

8 That cooling-off period doesn't apply if you've bought perishables online, or for flights, accommodation and other time specific services. Check the cancellation policy instead.

9 Some sales have already started and your rights don't change at all just because something is discounted.

Repair, replacement or refunds still apply for faulty products or ones not described correctly.

10 If you're bringing something back that you bought at full price but now the sale is on, the shop shouldn't give you back the sale price, but the price you paid.

Irish Independent

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