Know your Christmas shopping rights

21 December 2017
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Christmas shoppers should be aware of their rights when it comes to buying and returning presents to avoid being stung by common misconceptions.

Darren Williams of voucher website PromotionalCodes comments: “Now that we’re in the height of sales season, it’s especially important that shoppers understand their rights.

“We don’t want people to be left out of pocket because they thought they were entitled to refunds when they weren’t.

“Similarly, we also want people to know when they can demand a refund and how to protect themselves.”

Here are some tops myths debunked by PromotionalCodes.

1. “Shops are legally obliged to sell me goods for the displayed price” – FALSE

Common “myths” surrounding retail purchases include the idea that shops have to honour a price mistake. While it is illegal to deliberately mislead consumers, if a shop lists the price accidentally, it is not obliged to honour it for eagle-eyed customers.

2. “My rights are the same for online shopping as in-store” – FALSE

Many shoppers don’t realise that their rights in-store differ from online. An online shopper doesn’t have a “contract” with the retailer until a purchase arrives, even if they have received a confirmation email.

On the plus side, online shoppers have the added right of a 14-day cooling off period after purchase meaning they can return items with no questions asked within this period. Contrary to what’s commonly believed, in-store shoppers do not have the right to return an item simply if they just don’t like it or want it any more. 

3. “I need a receipt to return faulty goods” - FALSE

Both online and in-store shoppers, have legal rights to return faulty goods and get a replacement or refund. But you don’t need to have saved the receipt in order to be able to return an item to the retailer. As long as you have some sort of proof of purchase, such as a bank account record, this is legally sufficient evidence to return the goods.

4. “All credit card purchases are protected by the card provider” - FALSE

Shoppers often believe that they are completely protected by purchases made with a credit card. But this is only true if the purchase was over £100 or under £30,000. In this scenario, credit card providers will refund you if the company you bought the product from collapses before the item arrives, or if the item is faulty and the company refuses to refund you.

Debit card purchases aren’t covered by the same ‘Section 75’ legal rights, but they do offer a similar form of protection under the card providers’ so-called ‘Chargeback’ scheme.  

Read more about shopping on Moneywise

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