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Safe shopping advice

Alert message sent 23/11/2020 15:26:00

Information sent on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch


Please would you be kind enough to forward, this is general advice for all areas,
Take care,
Maggie

Safe shopping advice for Oxfordshire bargain hunters… Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers in Oxfordshire are being encouraged to be scam-aware and avoid their anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday online bargains becoming expensive rip-offs.
Safe shopping advice is from Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.

The two US-inspired bargain bonanza days have become popular with retailers in recent years, with consumers looking to pick up items, particularly online, in the run up to Christmas.

This year, Black Friday is 27 November and Cyber Monday is 30 November 2020, with many retailers likely to extend the sales period.

What to look out for
Bogus online stores – fake websites and email offers for goods and services that do not exist. 
Losing money when making direct bank payments only to find the goods are inferior or do not exist at all.
Buying fake goods intentionally or unintentionally – finding they are of inferior quality or unsafe and possibly funding more serious crimes in the process.
Tips for shopping safely
Ensure that any unfamiliar online retailer is reputable by researching them. Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. This is normally found in the terms and conditions or about us sections of a website. The best way to find a reputable retailer is through a recommendation from a trusted source.
Look for trusted online reviews of the trader to see the experiences of other shoppers.
Check that the business is located at the address stated. Businesses operating online need to provide an address at which they are based. Websites operated by limited companies based in the UK also need to provide their full registered company name - not just a trading name - and need to state their registered office address and companies house registration number. With any address provided, check that it exists by carrying out searches using the Royal Mail address finder royalmail.com/find-a-postcode or by using other online tools such as Google street view.
Read terms and conditions, especially the delivery times and returns policies. Some websites will have terms and conditions that do not make sense or contain spelling errors and other inaccuracies.
Remember, consumers cannot return personalised or custom made goods. Advice from Citizens Advice about this is here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/changed-your-mind/changing-your-mind-about-something-youve-bought/
Paying by credit card offers greater protection than other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure the link is secure, checking for the padlock symbol in the browser window frame and that the web address begins with ‘https://’.
If a seller asks for payment by PayPal Friends and Family, this will be so that they can avoid PayPal charges, but will deny the buyer any payment protection that PayPal might otherwise provide.
Check credit card and bank statements carefully after shopping to ensure that the correct amount has been debited and that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
When buying outside the UK, check if there will be a tax import duty added before buying - https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad
Visit the Get Safe Online website for more tips on how to shop safely online. https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/shopping1/

Anyone with concerns about an item they have purchased online can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline for advice on their rights and report their concerns to the relevant trading standards service.

This can be done by telephone on 0808 223 1133 or online. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/
Message sent by
Maggie Lewis (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, Oxford LPA)

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