Sale shoppers urged to watch out for scams

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With January sales offering bargains and fantastic deals, shoppers are being urged to make the most of their money and to watch out for those fraudulently trying to trick them out of their hard-earned cash.

Advice Direct Scotland, the country’s national advice service, has encouraged Scots to create a budget and think about how much money they can afford to spend during the sales before venturing online or setting foot on the high street.

In advance of going shopping, consumers should sit down and plan their purchases and the shops they would like to visit, along with their budget.

Having a list will allow shoppers to stay focused and avoid the all-too-easy impulse purchases.

Another important thing to be aware of when shopping during January sales is that some shops will offer slightly different returns policies on sale items, so it is important to double check retailer terms and conditions before making a purchase.

Some might be offering an exchange-only policy on sale items, however, these policy changes should not affect statutory consumer rights.

It is important to remember that shoppers have more rights online than in store, including the right to return most goods purchased online within 14 days for a full refund.

Colin Mathieson of Advice Direct Scotland said: ‘January sales can be a good time to pick up a bargain, both online and on the high street.

‘There are different things that we can do as consumers to make sure that we avoid living beyond our means, and the simplest way to prevent an accidental overspend is to create a budget.

‘It can be helpful to keep an eye on your spending, either by jotting it down in a notepad, or by checking your online banking to make sure you are staying on track throughout your time shopping.

‘Having a list will allow you to stay focused and avoid the all-too-easy impulse purchases. Also keep in mind that it’s only a great deal if you will use or need the item.

‘If purchasing online, shop around, check for offers on free deliveries, and pay on a credit card if possible. And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,’ he added.

While shopping online people are also being urged to be aware of scammers, particularly when spotting bargains on social media marketplaces and targeted advertising.

Scammers are always looking at new and innovative ways of separating you from your money and a healthy dose of scepticism could pay dividends later on.

Anyone who wants more advice on safe shopping, or any consumer matter, can contact for free on 0808 164 6000. Specialist advisers are available from 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.


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