Christmas classic gets a trading standards touch

Counterfeit Ugg boots

Counterfeit Ugg boots

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A seasonal take on a Christmas classic has been launched by North Lanarkshire Council’s Trading Standards service as it looks to give residents some festive retail tips.

Christmas shopping has now begun and trading standards officers are singing out their 12 tips to stop people falling foul of poor products.

The tips, adapted from the well-known Christmas carol, remind shoppers of their consumer rights and contain advice for buying those special presents.

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Twelve, Del-boy dealers: Avoid counterfeit goods. Many fake items are sold at Christmas, often by street traders, and will often be of poor quality and in some instances, dangerous.

Eleven, stocking fillers: You have no consumer rights for unwanted gifts. Always check the seller returns policy before buying gifts. Some stores give gift receipts.

Ten, ‘surfing’ shoppers: Distance selling regulations mean online sellers have 30 days to supply goods from the day after purchase, unless extra has been paid for next day delivery. Order in good time for gifts to arrive and check the expected delivery dates.

Nine, dodgy presents: Examine presents straight away and take any defective goods back immediately. The sooner you take them back, the more rights you have.

Eight, shops a closing: At Christmas time, empty shops are often occupied by traders offering cheap goods, especially toys. These goods are often of poor quality and, as the trader may no longer be there in the New Year, it may be hard to get a refund on faulty goods. Buy toys suitable for the age of the child and make sure it meets all relevant safety standards. Look for the CE mark.

Seven, cards a spending: If you can, pay for goods more than £100 on a credit card. You may have extra protection if things go wrong.

Six, seasonal bargains: Don’t be too hasty to grab a bargain. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Five, mobile ‘apps’: Be sure to get your apps from the reputable stores, beware of the in-app purchases. Check that the parental controls are enabled to stop surprise bills.

Four, gift cards: Beware, most gift cards or vouchers have expiry dates, and when they have expired a trader does not have to accept them. Therefore, any consumer who receives a gift card/voucher must ensure they spend them within the time limit specified in their terms and conditions.

Three, warranties: Don’t be obliged to buy a guarantee/ warranty. Many give no more protection than you already have by law. Check the small print to see what you’re covered for.

‘Too young to buy’: Alcohol (18), cigarettes (18), fireworks(18), solvents(18), knives(18), spray paints(16), DVDs and computer games are all age restricted goods. It’s an offence to buy products for underage people.

One, proof of purchase in your purse: Keep your receipts, as without them, you have no proof of purchase, and returning goods may be very difficult.

Councillor Helen McKenna, Convener of the Environmental Services Committee that oversees Trading Standards matters, said: “We want everyone to have a happy Christmas and one of the best ways is to make sure that special present isn’t a nasty surprise.

“We all love a bargain, but some are too good to be true and could ruin this special time of year. Follow trading standards advice – even if you don’t sing along – and you can make sure you don’t fall foul of dodgy deals.”

Anyone seeking advice or guidance can contact our consumer advice centres on 01698 274220 (option 1) or 01236 636676 or e-mail TradingStandards@Northlan.gov.uk