Safety It is important when buying Christmas presents to ensure that you only buy items that are safe.  Trading Standards (TS) recommend that you only buy from a reputable source and remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Please look for a CE mark on goods such as toys and electrical items which indicate that they should be manufactured in line with European safety standards.

HHelp  If you have any concerns about any item you have bought or received and would like some advice on your consumer rights you can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.  This line is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.  The line closes at 12:30pm lunchtime on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

O“Off the back of a lorry” At this time of the year many people try to find bargains. Shops offering goods at knock down prices and internet sites selling high end goods at cheap prices can be tempting. These goods could be counterfeit, stolen or dangerous.  You’re unlikely to get value for money and could be putting yourself & family at risk.  The seller is unlikely to be around after Christmas so you won’t get your money back if you have problems.

PPresents Sometimes we receive a gift that is unsuitable. Just because we don’t like something, it doesn’t give us the automatic right to take it back. In most cases, only the person who bought the item can take it back. The shop will only have to offer a refund or exchange if the item is not as described, of a less than satisfactory quality or not fit for purpose. However some stores offer generous returns policies for unwanted gifts so it’s worth asking.

PPayment Over Christmas many of us find that we have overspent and struggle to manage bills in the new year and we might be tempted by the offer of ‘pay-day’ loans. TS recommends getting independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. The Derby Money Advice team offers free, confidential and independent advice on any money/debt problems and they can be contacted on 01332 643395.

IInternet Shopping Every year more of us do our Christmas shopping online. Unfortunately, buying on-line can have pitfalls & you may find you’re using a bogus site which takes your money but gives you nothing in return or, you may buy fake goods which could be dangerous.  Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself.  If you are paying for goods on-line check the site is secure by looking for a ‘padlock’ symbol in the browser.

NNo Refunds Some shops or on-line retailers may tell you that they do not offer refunds on sale or discounted items.  However consumers do have the right to return goods to a shop for a remedy if the item does not meet its description; is of a less than satisfactory quality or is not fit for its common purpose.  Find out more about your consumer rights on the Citizens Advice website.

GGold Selling  Gold has become an increasingly valuable commodity in recent years and people may be considering selling unwanted jewellery to raise extra cash for Christmas.  Unfortunately, some traders try to take advantage of consumers and pay less than the gold is worth.  TS recommends using a reputable company and ask to see the gold weighed so that you can be clear you are being paid fairly for what you are selling.