As Black Friday approaches, a guide to your online shopping rights – Forbes Advisor UK


The annual retail extravaganza of Black Friday falls on November 26 of this year and is followed by tech-focused Cyber ​​Monday on November 29.

As always, he will see a multitude of offers from major brand stores and outlets.

As many see the benefits of online shopping throughout the pandemic, shopping on the web is likely to remain popular.

Here’s everything you need to know about online shopping and your consumer rights when shopping on the internet.

Online shopping at record levels

Online sales exploded last year due to the spread of COVID-19 and associated social distancing measures.

According to the Office for National Statistics, online shopping sales peaked at nearly 40% (37.1%) in November 2020 and again in January 2021.

With most of us spending a lot of time isolating ourselves at home last year, using the internet to shop became a new normal that continued after the lockdown.

According to VoucherCodes and GlobalData’s Shopping for Christmas 2021 report, more than a quarter of consumers (26%) say they buy more online than before the pandemic, despite the reopening of physical stores in April of this year.

The report predicts a slight year-over-year drop (8.5%) in online sales to £ 32.62 billion this Christmas season, as shoppers make the most of the opportunity to visit the stores again. stores.

However, the amount spent online is still expected to exceed the £ 22.28 billion spent in 2019 due to shoppers’ adaptation to online shopping and those who still have security concerns about shopping among large crowds. in physical stores.

As online shopping becomes more and more popular, it is essential that you know your consumer rights when shopping on the internet.

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What does the law say about consumer rights?

Items purchased online are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This legislation allows consumers to claim a refund or replacement of goods if the delivered item does not meet specific criteria, including:

Satisfactory quality

All the products you buy online must arrive in “satisfactory quality”, which means that if your items are new, they must be in good condition, clean and in good working order.

As described

Items purchased online must exactly match the product description. If you have bought something second-hand, this criterion is extremely useful as the seller must highlight any defect or damage in the description of the product.

Fit for purpose

Any good purchased must correspond to the use for which it is intended.

What are my rights if a product is defective?

If you receive a defective or damaged item, it does not meet the “satisfactory quality” standard. This means that you are entitled to a full refund from the merchant.

However, there is a rigid deadline for requesting a refund. If the product arrives defective or becomes defective soon after purchase, you have 30 days from the date of sale to request your refund.

What are my rights to return items?

If you receive a product that is not damaged or defective, but you still want to return it, you must do so within 14 days of the date you received it. However, the product must be in a “sale condition”.

What is considered a salable condition depends on the item and the retailer. If you removed the plastic wrap from a CD, for example, you may not be able to return it.

What are my rights if an item does not arrive?

Online merchants have up to 30 days to deliver items from the day of purchase. If your goods do not arrive within 30 days, you have the right to request a refund or replacement.

This sometimes applies if you pay for next day delivery and your goods do not arrive the next day. If in doubt, check the retailer’s terms and conditions for guaranteed delivery dates and refunds.

How to avoid online shopping scams?

The rise of online shopping has also given scammers many new ways to try to access your card details or steal your newly purchased items.

The cost of cybercrime to the UK economy is in the billions of pounds a year, and that number is expected to rise. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid falling victim to online shopping scams.

First of all, avoid reusing your password on many different websites, email addresses, and social media platforms. If a hacker obtains an account password, they will likely try it with others.

Likewise, make sure that your computer has up-to-date antivirus software downloaded to protect your information while browsing.

If you are making a purchase worth more than £ 100, it is best to use a credit card. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, any sale over £ 100 is protected by law, even if you only pay the deposit (over £ 100) on the card. If an item arrives faulty or does not match the description, or does not show up, the credit card company is jointly responsible with the retailer.

If you’re hesitant to bring in a new retailer, be sure to research the brand. Seek their reviews from people who have purchased items and services from them in the past. If there are too many negative reviews, consider looking elsewhere.

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How to avoid the “porch pirates”?

With the growth of online shopping comes more and more “porch hacking”. A porch hacker steals packages and postal items left outside homes, offices and other buildings. Often times, these deliveries are made from porches and hallways of buildings where items are left when no one is home or available to receive them.

Often there is debate as to who is at fault. Some people criticize delivery companies and their staff for not ensuring the security of packages. Others blame thieves, some of whom have mastered the trend and follow delivery trucks, stealing items as soon as they are dropped off. Some people attack homeowners for not protecting their property.

If you want to reduce your risk of losing shipments online, consider shipping goods to a work address or to a trusted friend or neighbor who will be at home. If you are ordering from Amazon, try using an Amazon Hub Locker, which is sometimes found in local supermarkets or post offices.

You can also ask large delivery companies such as FedEx or UPS to hold a package at one of their facilities until you have time to collect it.

What if I’m the victim of a porch hacker?

If it looks like a package was stolen from outside your home, first contact the merchant who sold you the item. Different retailers have different policies and processes for dealing with stolen items, but most will offer you a refund or replacement.

Amazon uses its “A to Z” warranty protection to cover most stolen goods. However, purchases through Amazon sometimes come from retail partners called “Amazon sellers”. If you are buying from an Amazon seller, you should first try to resolve the issue with them. If they do not accept any responsibility, you can still take certain steps to obtain a refund.

Sometimes traders transfer the responsibility to the shipping company or ask you to file a complaint. You may also have to wait a certain number of days to see if your package will be delivered. Under these circumstances, it is worth filing a claim with the shipping company as well as the retailer.

There are online complaints processes for UPS, FedEx, and DHL to report any missing packages and they can also be reached by phone.

Black Friday and Christmas outlook

Shoppers are just as keen as they were last year to start shopping early, Mintel says, and have been doing so online since September, as fuel, product and staff shortages create uncertainty, and retailers warn to plan well in advance to ease the pressure on supply. chain.

It remains to be seen whether some retailers and manufacturers will be able to meet the demands of Christmas shoppers this year.

The electronics industry is currently struggling with a global semiconductor shortage, but the Shopping for Christmas 2021 report predicts that buyers will spend the most on electronics, leading to an increase in overall electronics sales of 3.5% year on year to reach 2.70 billion.

Toy purchases will amount to £ 2.34bn, but will be down 1% from a year ago, while clothing and footwear sales will hit £ 2.06bn, or an increase of 44% compared to 2020.


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