Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

James Walker Consumer Rights Champion; Top Tips on How to Get the Most out of the Sales

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

James Walker Consumer Rights Champion; Top Tips on How to Get the Most out of the Sales

Article excerpt

HAPPY holidays! The Resolver team and I are having a wellearned rest and working our way through a mountain of turkey sandwiches (vegetarian options are available). Right now, we're staying put, but your thoughts might be turning to the post-Christmas sales.

In my experience sales are like Marmite - it's a love or hate thing.

No matter whether you chose to go - or you're being forced - the sales can be a great opportunity to make some savings. But there are lots of things you need to watch out for - in the shopping centre or online.

It pays to have a moment of calm before you hand over your cash or cards. After all, there will be items you buy on the spur of the moment that you don't actually want or need. You may buy some goods that turn out to be faulty or defective and, worst of all, products or services you sign up for on a whim that aren't quite what they seem.

Getting something on the cheap doesn't mean giving up your consumer rights. In fact, your rights and protections are exactly the same unless a fault or defect was pointed out to you when purchasing.

Here are my tips on surviving the sales.

AVOID BUYER'S REMORSE EVERY year, more and more people log on to the sales on Christmas Day after dinner. Boxing Day online shopping is also expected to soar this year. And this can lead to problems.

While many people instinctively feel that buying online provides less protection than using the high street, in fact the opposite is true.

While high street shops don't have to accept returns unless an item is faulty, online purchases are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations giving you 14 days to return the goods, for any reason, from the moment you receive them.

The thinking behind this law is that when buying online you won't have seen/felt the product, so this allows you a chance to change your mind if it's not as you thought when it arrives.

In reality, it also gives protection against buyer's remorse. Maybe you just don't like the colour, or your partner thinks you've spent too much. As long as it's sent back within those 14 days - and the item hasn't been damaged, worn, used or ruined - you'll get a refund. It should be returned with all the original packaging.

Remember though, if returning an item that isn't faulty, you may be required to cover the cost of postage to send it back. Keep a proof of postage too.

Some online stores, such as Amazon, extend the period in which you can return most products, for any reason, to 30 days - and many of the main high street brands offer this protection in-store too, although may reduce the scope/length of returns during sales periods.

I would strongly advise that before you buy anything, you check how long you have to return the goods if you change your mind - even if you're in middle of a bargain-hunting frenzy. …

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