Stop before you shop – Trading Standards Service

17 November 2022

Stop before you shop  Trading Standards Service

As part of this year’s National Consumer Week the Department for the Economy’s Trading Standards Service (TSS) is advising people to spend their money wisely and what to do if things go wrong.

National Consumer Week runs until Sunday 20 November and with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the festive holidays just around the corner, TSS is encouraging people to “stop before they shop”.

To help consumers during the busy run up to Christmas TSS offers the following top three messages:

  • It is important to stop before you shop, particularly when shopping from online marketplaces. There are checks you can do to avoid problems and scams. For example, do you know who the seller is? Can you find their trading address? Could you visit a store to buy it? Does the website offer a complaints process if there is a problem?

  • Be wise to scams in disguise and know how to spot if a deal really is a deal. Is the price consistent with the price of the product elsewhere? If it is suspiciously cheaper, it is probably fake. If you are buying online, do a search for the retailer and see if they have any customer reviews. Never pay by bank transfer. If you are purchasing an item over £100, use a credit card.

  • Sometimes things just don’t go to plan however much you have checked and double checked, but you have rights, and we are here to help.

Damien Doherty, Chief Inspector of Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service, said: “As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, this week we’re reminding consumers that it’s important to know your rights so that you can shop online safely. Unfortunately, sometimes people get less than what they bargained for and our Consumerline service receives lots of reports about fake or faulty goods that have been sold online, goods not arriving or not being sent or goods being different to what was advertised.

“Throughout National Consumer Week we will be providing advice on our social media channels to empower consumers to make wise shopping decisions. Consumer legislation is there to protect us when things do not go to plan, and our Consumerline team is on hand to help with free, practical, and impartial advice. If you need advice, guidance or support please call Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to their website.”