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Online Shopping | Knowing Your Rights

knowing your rights

With Black Friday fast approaching, it is worth knowing what your consumer rights are before diving into the madness.

The popular American Shopping holiday has spread like wildfire across the globe in recent years, becoming more and more popular each year. Many have need Black Friday as the official start of the Christmas period, so it comes to no surprise that many flock online to get the best deals.

With lockdown forcing consumers to shop online instead of in stores this year, Black Friday is predicted to be bigger than every with panicked buyers rushing to purchase their Christmas shopping. If you are planning on shopping online this Christmas, here are just a few key things to consider…

Delivery

With the current pandemic adding initial delays to delivery times, it’s vital to ensure you have checked the delivery date on everything you purchase online. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all items bought online MUST be delivered to you within 30 days of the order being placed, unless clearly stated otherwise.

For those of you purchasing items for Christmas, make sure your items state that they will arrive before Christmas Day. If the supplier specifically states that your items will turn up before Christmas and they fail to arrive, they will have breached their contract with you, and you are entitled to a full refund.

Returns

For items bought online, you are entitled to return your items for a full refund even if they aren’t faulty or broken. Terms and conditions for suppliers will vary depending on their requirements, so you may be required to pay for the cost of sending your unwanted items back. Most items can only be returned within 14 days of receiving the item and must be returned in the same condition as they arrived. When opening your parcels, take special care in protecting the packaging should you need to make a return.

Special restrictions are in place for items personalised to you or at risk of contamination, such as jewellery or makeup. Once opened, these packages cannot be returned.

In regards to faulty items, you are covered under the Consumer Rights Act to request a full refund, as long as your parcel has been returned within the fixed period set out by the supplier. If you return a fault item outside of this time frame, it will be down to the supplier to decide whether they want to offer you a full refund or repair the item.

For items that develop a fault up to six months after purchase, you can still request a refund, however, you will be required to prove that the item was faulty when you first received the parcel.

All returns will require proof of purchase alongside them, such as an invoice or receipt. If you no longer have the receipt, you can supply a bank statement evidencing the purchase, however, not all suppliers will accept this as proof so it is always handy (especially with more expensive items) that you keep your receipt handy.

Payment

Payment protection is one of the key things to consider when purchasing anything online. There are a few ways in which you can protect yourself and your money.

The first way is under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which states that for items costing more than £100 bought via a credit card, your credit card provider is liable for the payment along with the supplier. Therefore, you have the right to request a full refund via your card provider if for any reason the supplier refuses to do so.

For purchases made with a debit card or those under £100, you may still be eligible for a full refund via your card provider using ‘chargeback’. Chargeback is simply when a payment is returned to your debit card by its provider after a successful dispute of the transaction. However, we cannot guarantee that you will always be able to receive the full refund this way.

You can also cover yourself by using payment systems such as PayPal, which will be able to issue a full refund to yourself should the item arrive faulty, is incorrect, or simply fails to arrive.

Safety

The internet has become a hive of potentially dangerous activity, especially with fraudsters and scam artists praying on online shoppers. With more and more fake stores popping up on the website, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot those that may not be genuine. Here are a few tips to protect yourself when shopping online.

Spotting fake websites: The easiest way to spot a legitimate website is to ensure that the web address starts with ‘https’. This proved that the website has been certified as a secure website.

Reviews: The best way to find out if a company is reliable or not is to check their customer reviews. If for any reason you are unsure whether to trust a supplier, whether you have never used them before or simply get that uneasy feeling, reading reviews from past customers is a great way of seeing whether they are a reputable and reliable company to purchase from.

Security: Most online retailers these days require you to create an account with them before you can make a purchase. This account will keep a record of all your past orders and allow you to easily track your deliveries and returns. Your account will also hold a record of your personal and payment information, so it is vital that you choose a strong password to keep this information safe. Stay clear of using birthdays, names, or short passwords that can easily be guessed. Using a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols will improve your password strength.

Knowing who to contact: Online fraud can happen when you least expect it, so it is worth knowing who you should contact should the occasion arise. The first point of contact should you suspect any fraudulent transaction will be your bank provider, who will be able to investigate the transaction. Once you have contacted your bank, all cybercrime should be reported to Action Fraud who will monitor your situation and avoid it happening to anyone else. For full details of how you can contact Action Fraud, click here.

By taking all of this into account, you can shop to your heart’s content without the worry of being unprotected. Black Friday is set to be the biggest on record this year, so get your cards at the ready and take advantage of some fantastic sales on offer!

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