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Shop safe and wise: don’t let the fraudsters cash in.

Top tips for wise and safe shopping

Shop wisely this sale season and avoid getting less than you bargained for. We’ve released some top tips to remind bargain-hunters how to shop safely online.

  1. Do your research.  
    Before buying from a site you haven’t used before, check it out. See what people have said about the person or company you’re buying from. Look at reviews on different websites – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website. If you’re worried something you’ve seen online might be a scam, you can get help from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline
  2. Be wise to scams in disguise.  
    If a bargain seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it’s branded but a lot cheaper than it appears on the brand website, it could be fake. It could be a legitimate ‘look-a-like’ product. Either way, it might not be the quality you hoped for.
  3. Ways to pay.  
    Beware of a seller who asks you to pay by direct bank transfer. Bank transfers have limited protection if things go wrong, so avoid using them. You should only send and receive money through the online marketplace app or website using a debit or credit card, or via trusted methods of payment such as PayPal
  4. Know your rights
    If you’ve bought from a retailer you might be entitled to a replacement product or a repair of your faulty goods. You can even claim a full refund if you can prove the goods are faulty. If you’ve bought from an individual, perhaps via an online marketplace, you have far fewer rights. In fact you have no right to return as long as the goods are ‘as described’. Take a screenshot of the description, check and double check before you buy.
  5. When things go wrong
    Sometimes things just don’t go to plan. If you’ve bought something that’s broken, damaged, unsafe or not what you expected, contact the seller and give them a chance to put it right. If that doesn’t work, contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline.  

Find our full Consumer Advice.

We give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are, whatever their problem.

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