National e-Consumer Week 2010 - Students stay safe online with internet shopping tips

As part of National Consumer Week 2010, Highland Council Trading Standards is raising awareness with students in Inverness on how to be safe shoppers online. 

This year ‘National Consumer Week 2010’, which runs between 20th September to 24th September 2010,  will focus on advising all consumers on how to avoid buying counterfeit goods online or buying goods from fake websites.

National launch campaign partners for 2010; include the Intellectual Property Office along with the UK European Consumer Centre, who provide cross-border support and shopping advice to consumers within the European Union.

Trading Standards in Highland are starting off their week long campaign by raising awareness with young internet surfers who may not be aware on how to check out if a website selling designer goods or clothes is genuine or not. 

Student President of Inverness College Students Association, Rebecca Entwistle, based at Longman Road, Inverness was delighted to get students involved.   “Young people are very good at communicating through email, twitter and online blogs and most are technically proficient in using the internet to buy CD’s, MP3 players and all sorts of other goods”.  She adds:  “Students may not be aware, however, that some sites selling goods are bogus or the goods themselves are fake, until they have passed over their personal and bank account card details.  It’s an important message to get across to students to check out the websites that they are logged onto, before they go ahead with any purchase." 

As part of raising awareness with students, Highland Trading Standards Service is holding a prize draw quiz on ‘safe shopping online’ during their visit to the Inverness College Campus.  Vue Cinema, Inverness and Pizza Hut, Inverness have kindly donated a “Free Pizza and Movie Night for Two” to be won.  

Highland residents can also find out how to shop safely online by going to the Trading Standards Institute website at: http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/. 

Online shopping advice from Highland Council Trading Standards to all consumers is to take their time to familiarise themselves with the website they are browsing before going ahead with a purchase.  A few simple checks that can be carried out quickly include trying to identify the seller and where they are based. This can help the consumer decide whether they want to risk going ahead with a purchase or not.   A quick and easy “WHOIS” search at:  www.networksolutions.com/whois can reveal, in seconds the name and address of the person behind registering the website. 

Consumers are also being urged by Highland Trading Standards to carry out the following pre-purchase checks:

Consumers are also being prompted to remember that just because a web address ends in ‘co.uk’ does not mean that the business is based in the UK.
Although these checks are not entirely fool-proof, any information that does not add up should alert the consumer to possible scams and fake websites.  If goods are being offered at knock down prices, consumers should think twice before parting with their money.

Consumers who may like advice about being a safe online shopper or have a specific complaint about goods they have ordered from the internet, can contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 to discuss their consumer complaint or write to: The Highland Council, Trading Standards, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness.

Information leaflets on consumer rights can be obtained from Highland Libraries and Service Points throughout the Highland Council area.

For further Highland Trading Standards news please go to www.highland.gov.uk

-Ends-

14 Sep 2010
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