Christmas Shopping: Knowing Your Rights When Shopping Online

Christmas is right around the corner and most people will be doing some form of online shopping in the run-up to the festive season. Online shoppers tend not to think twice before parting with their money and with so many shopping events, competitive deals and next-day delivery promotions, it’s easy to trust retailers without much of a second thought.

But, despite the convenience and ease of online shopping, things don’t always go as planned. At this time of year, when online sales increase massively, there is also the risk of things going wrong. Scams, fraud, delivery delays and other problems can all spring up and cause a headache for shoppers. In these cases, knowing your rights when shopping online can help you when shopping and in the event that something does go wrong, you know what you’re entitled to.

What Are Consumer Rights?

The Consumer Rights Act fully came into effect in 2015 as a way of protecting consumers and making sure that they can make purchases with confidence. Consumer laws provide cover for what could happen in the event that goods are faulty, the products do not match the description or where terms between the buyer and seller are unfair.

If a business fails to stick to the rules and regulations, there are specific actions which need to be taken in order to protect the consumer’s best interests. Companies will be initially given the opportunity to correct the errors of their way, whether this is a full refund or replacement, but if this action is not taken by the seller or company, then the customer will be entitled to a form of compensation.

Online Purchasing Scams

The most common types of scams happen when people purchase items online. More typically, these scams occur on online auction sites, such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Vinted. It can often be difficult to spot these but there are some telltale signs of these types of online scams.

  • Check Review History – if you are buying from online auction sites, then always be sure to check the review history and previous feedback from other reviewers. If you find that accounts have only recently been set up and have lots of positive feedback and reviews, then this is a sign that all isn’t as it seems.
  • Use The Site’s Recommended Payment Method – when buying goods online, you should always use the recommended payment method and be sure to read the T&Cs closely so that you’re understanding what it is you’re protected for. If you choose to pay any other way than the recommended method, then the likelihood is that if you fall victim to a payment scam via another method, it’ll be near impossible to recover. Crypto scam recovery is tricky when buying products online, but can be achieved in certain situations, whereas bank transfers have fewer protections.
  • Make Sure The Website Is Genuine – always be sure that the website you’re buying from is a genuine website, with an SSL certificate. Avoid fake or copycat websites – these can be spotted with spelling mistakes, lack of products or even too many products.