10 tips for securing the best post-Christmas bargains - advice from Essex Trading Standards

Make sure your bargains don't end up costing you dearly

Make sure your bargains don't end up costing you dearly - Credit: Archant

Bargain hunters are being reminded of their consumer rights by the team at Essex Trading Standards this new year.

• Shop around - make sure you get the best price on the item you are buying

• Check the price - if something is reduced, ensure the trader displays the original price

• Check the refund policy before you buy - a shop is not obliged to refund or exchange an item you picked up in the sales, although some stores will

• Do you really need it now - shops often have sales throughout the year so do not feel pressured into buying items in the Christmas or New Year sales

• Gift receipt - ask if the retailer offers gift receipt so your friends and family can exchange the item if it is not right

• Return faulty items within 30 days - under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 stores must offer a full refund if a faulty item is returned within 30 days

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• Will the shop be there next month? - watch out for pop up shops that may have disappeared by the time you attempt to return any faulty or unwanted items

• Is it worth using a credit card? - if you buy goods over £100 consider using a credit card as you will get additional protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act but make sure you pay it off in January to avoid fines and charges

• Check that online retailers are safe - when buying online ensure that the locked padlock symbol is visible when paying and be wary of websites that ask for personal information and are not high street names

• Distance selling regulations - you have 14 days to change your mind if you have bought goods online but not if they have been made specifically for you

Councillor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “Everyone loves a bargain but residents should know their rights before visiting their local high street or buying online to avoid disappointment. Being aware of the secrets of sales shopping can help avoid being stuck with unwanted or faulty items this Christmas and New Year.”

If you have any problems with goods or services you have bought you can seek advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline who handle calls for Trading Standards via 03454 040506.

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