Shop Safely Online this Black Friday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
With the sales just around the corner, North Tyneside Citizens Advice is guiding consumers on how to shop safely through online marketplaces and protect themselves from scams.
There is currently no legal requirement for an online marketplace to check the safety of the products being sold on their site. So if you’re buying online, you should do your own checks to make sure the products you’re buying are safe.
Safety Checks for Online Marketplaces:
Check the item conforms to UK and EU safety standards. Certain items sold in the UK, including toys, electrical and gas items, must be marked as meeting certain safety standards.
These markings include
- CE marking
- UKCA marking
- UKCA and CE marking
- UKNI and CE marking
What type of selling platform is it? Does the platform allow other business or private sellers to use it? What countries are able to sell on the platform?
How can you pay? Make sure you pay using secure payment methods and be wary of sellers that try to change details or payment methods once you’ve purchased.
If you’re buying toys there are other checks you should do.
Check if the item is a toy — There are many items that can look like toys or are advertised as toys but are not suitable for children.
Check the age suitability for your child and the product you are considering buying — do the pictures of the child in the picture match the age warnings on the product?
Know who owns the brand of toy or game — look for that name when searching an online marketplace, as well as on the packaging when you receive it.
When the item arrives, check it over before you give it to a child. Check for faults, detachable small parts, access to stuffing and loose or accessible batteries or magnets.
Watch Out for Scams:
Does it seem too good to be true?
If it seems too good to be true — it probably is. This is especially true for products which are ‘must-haves’ or are sold out in major retailers. It might seem like the perfect present, but you might end up with nothing!
Check you’re buying from a legit retailer
Do some background research into the company. Start with an internet search about the company. Seeing what others say can help you find out if it’s legitimate or not, but remember reviews can also be fake! You should also check how they can be contacted, where in the world they are based and whether they are part of a consumer protection scheme.
How do they want you to pay?
Be cautious when a retailer asks you to pay by an unusual means such as in itunes vouchers, crypto currency or via bank transfer. These are harder to track and lack the vital protections that you get when paying by debit or credit card or by a third party app such as PayPal. However you pay — check the terms and conditions to make sure you know what you’re paying for.
If you are scammed online, our Scams Action service is here to help. Contact us over the phone (Mon — Fri 9am to 5pm) on 0808 250 5050 or via webchat. You can also use our online helper tool to identify whether something is a scam.