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Shoppers, know your rights when you go shopping in the Christmas sales

Date: 27/11/2008           Category: Community Safety

The presents have been unwrapped and you’ve just polished off the last tin of chocolates, but what do you do with all those duplicate gifts or jumpers that are two sizes too small? Medway Trading Standards has issued some top tips to ensure shoppers know their rights when returning unwanted gifts and hitting the Christmas sales. 1. Keep your receipts. So many people run into trouble when they don’t keep their receipts. The law says that you don’t necessarily need to have a receipt to get your money back, but it can make your life a lot easier if you do. 2. Ask for a gift receipt if you’re buying for someone else. These receipts don’t disclose how much the gift is worth, but will make sure the reciepient has the same rights as the person who bought the goods. 3. Traders can refuse a refund if goods are not faulty or mis-described. Negotiate with the trader when you buy something. Ask him if you can return the goods if they are unwanted or too small. If he agrees, make sure it is written on your receipt. 4. When you buy over the telephone, from a catalogue or on the Internet, you get extra rights. You can cancel most orders within seven working days, but make sure you get an address to write to in case you don’t get what you ordered. 5. Your rights state when you buy goods, you’re entitled to buy items that are of ‘satisfactory quality’. That means goods should be free from defects, safe, durable and of a reasonable appearance and finish. If a trader refuses to refund or repair a faulty item, you should contact Medway Trading Standards for more information. You may be able to take further action. 6. If you buy ‘shop soiled’ goods, you don’t automatically sign away your legal rights. As long as the faults are not those pointed out to you when you are sold the goods, you may still be able to ask for a repair or even your money back. 7. Don’t throw away your packaging or proof of purchase until you know everything works. 8. If you buy something as a private sale, be aware that your rights change. 9. You’re only entitled to expect goods that match their description when you buy something as part of a private sale. That means if there is a fault with an item you’ve bought privately, you might not be entitled to ask for your money back. 10. Your rights generally remain the same if you’re buying something from a shop, market trader, street trader or Internet trader. If you buy something from a market or street trader make sure you have an address to write to and complain if you want to take the item back. If you can’t put your complaint in writing to a business, you can’t enforce your legal rights. 11. If you are buying something for more than £100, use a credit card. The law states that if you buy goods that are faulty or mis-described, you have the same rights against the credit card company as you do against the shop that sold the goods. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Rehman Chishti said: “There are plenty of bargains to be had at the Christmas sales, and our Trading Standards officers want to ensure everyone knows their rights when shopping. “We hope that by following Medway Trading Standard’s top tips, everyone knows their rights when buying goods in the sales or returning Christmas gifts.” For further details about your rights visit www.medway.gov.uk/tradingstandards or call 01634 333333.