Shoppers urged to ensure sale bargains measure up

The Highland Council is offering advice to shoppers ahead of the Christmas sales, reminding them that they have the same rights when they buy goods in a sale as at any other time of year. Some tips offered by Trading Standards officers are:  

• Be aware that If goods are faulty or do not match their description, the shopper may be entitled to a refund, replacement or repair.

• Always remember that if goods are faulty it is the retailers' responsibility to sort the matter out and not the manufacturers.

• Be aware that if a receipt is lost, your rights still apply. An alternative proof of purchase will be necessary such as a credit card bill or bank statement.

• Think about using a credit card when purchasing items costing more than £100, as you will get extra protection from your credit card company should problems arise.

• Be wary of sale offers that seem too good to be true.  Look out for the small print on advertisements and don’t rush into making a purchase.

• Check if sale items are reduced because they are damaged or have defects.  If this is marked on the label, the shop doesn’t have to take it back.

• Always check what the retailer’s returns policy is during a sale. Remember that if you simply change your mind about a purchase, the retailer is not obliged to offer you a refund or an exchange. Many do offer a replacement or credit note, but this is a goodwill gesture and not a legal requirement.

Consumers should also look out for ‘No Refunds’ notices or other restrictive wording sometimes written on receipts or gift vouchers.   Some of these notices or terms can mislead consumers about their rights.   While the shopper is not entitled to a refund by changing their mind, they may be entitled to a refund if the goods bought turn out to have faults they were not told about.
The Highland Council Trading Standards Unit would like to hear from any consumer who may feel that their rights have been restricted or they have been misled after buying goods in a sale.

Highland Trading Standards offices will be closed as from 24th December 2008 and will reopen on Monday 5th January 2009 and would like to wish all Highland consumers a Happy Christmas.

Consumers can check their rights before heading for the shops and should log on to / or call 08454 04 05 06.  Alternatively consumers can visit or write to The Highland Council Trading Standards, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness.

18 Dec 2008