Get a fair deal this Christmas

With Christmas only weeks away and the shopping frenzy in full swing, Hackney Council’s Trading Standards Team is urging shoppers to take heed of the 12 cons of Christmas, to protect their consumer rights and keep the festive period fun for all.

Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at the Council, says: “Christmas is a busy time for most. People focus on being with family, friends and loved ones and can forget about their rights as consumers. Hackney Council is committed to protecting the consumer rights of those living and shopping in the borough and we want to ensure that everyone gets a fair deal this Christmas.“

The Trading Standards Team is issuing the following advice:

-Be wary of postal scams. If you receive a card through your door from PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) asking you to call 0906 661 1911 to arrange delivery of a parcel, do not call the number as you will be charged an extremely high rate. If you do receive one of these cards, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.
-Be careful when buying Christmas tree lights, as they can be a fire and electrical safety hazard. Make sure your lights have a CE safety mark and a manufacturer’s moulded 3-pin plug.
-If you are considering selling your old gold to bring some money in for Christmas, be aware you may not receive the amount you are expecting. Always check beforehand how much money you are likely to receive.
-Mobile phones are a popular Christmas present, but make sure you read the small print of any contract and check the tariff prices.
-If you are planning on dining out over the festive period, check your receipts to make sure the charges are correct and check whether service charge has already been included.
-Fake designer goods might seem like a good Christmas bargain, but they are likely to be poor quality and can even be unsafe.
-Be wary of Christmas prize scams. If you receive a text message or call saying you’ve won a prize, and you are asked to call a premium rate number or send money to claim your prize, then this may be a scam.
-Always look for a CE safety mark when buying toys. Fake toys can be dangerous.
-Don’t be tempted to buy pirated DVDs or CDs as presents. They can be poor quality, and are illegal.
-Buy alcohol from reputable shops. Counterfeit alcohol can be extremely dangerous.
-Many people choose to buy on credit at Christmas. Remember when buying on credit, you will have to pay the money back with interest, so check the annual percentage rate (APR).
-Remember when shopping in the January sales that you have the same rights as those shopping for non-sale goods.

For more information, contact the Trading Standards Team, on 020 8356 4929.