How to stay safe when shopping online this Black Friday

Citizens Advice Ipswich has given consumers top tips on shopping savvy and safe this Black Friday Picture: TIM GOODE/PA

Citizens Advice Ipswich has given consumers top tips on shopping savvy and safe this Black Friday Picture: TIM GOODE/PA - Credit: PA

Citizens Advice Ipswich has issued some top tips on how to stay safe and shop savvy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Citizens Advice Ipswich chief Nicky willshere has shared advice on shopping safely Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Citizens Advice Ipswich chief Nicky willshere has shared advice on shopping safely Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Lucy Taylor

The tips come after the Citizens Advice Consumer Service saw the number of people seeking help on online shopping nearly double this year – with 125,000 issues being raised already in 2020, compared to 74,000 in 2019.

With non-essential retail closed as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, it is hoped the tips will help make sure Ipswich shoppers know their consumer rights and stick to their budgets.

MORE: How you can help local businesses this Black Friday

Shoppers have been reminded to look out for the padlock symbol in their web browser’s address bar to help ensure their connection and personal information is secure – and to make sure to check reviews of a shop online.

In terms of refunds and returns, unless your purchase is bespoke, made to measure or a digital or hygiene seal has been broken – there is a 14-day cooling-off period by law, starting the day after you receive your order.

If an item is faulty, consumers are entitled to a refund if the item is returned within 30 days – after 30 days, the retailer has the option of instead repairing or replacing the faulty product.

Nicky Willshere, chief executive at Citizens Advice Ipswich, has also reminded people to be wary of taking on credit or a loan to help pay for purchases.

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Ms Willshere said: “With so many bargains around at this time of year, many people across Ipswich may feel the pressure to part with their money.

“With the uncertainty that coronavirus has brought, it’s important that anyone thinking about turning to credit or taking out a loan to help pay for purchases understands the full costs involved and if they can actually afford to pay it back.

“If you are struggling with your finances, it may feel overwhelming but it’s best to do something about it as soon as possible. You can come to us at Citizens Advice Ipswich to get free debt and money advice which can help you find a way forward and avoid spiralling debts.”

MORE: Christmas Wonderland shop reopens in Ipswich after change in guidelines

Elsewhere, charities in Suffolk have been calling on shoppers to instead buy second-hand or sustainable as an alternative to Black Friday – Buy Nothing New Day.

Claire Staddon, chief executive of Emmaus Suffolk, said: “At Emmaus we’ve known for a long time that second-hand does not mean lower quality, and now we are seeing a real move towards more people choosing to buy pre-loved and completely unique upcycled items.

“Our supporters donate some amazing items, from designer clothing and accessories through to solid wood furniture so there is always something amazing to be found by browsing our shops or by visiting our online shops.

“When you buy from an Emmaus shop you are not only supporting us with the work we do with socially isolated and vulnerable people here in Suffolk, but you are also significantly reducing the amount of items that end up in landfill each year, and paying a lot less for them – it’s a win win situation!”

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