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Consumer rights expert explains your rights when sale shopping this Black Friday

Each year shoppers spend billions in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. With the excitement of huge discounts and flash sales, many lose sight of their consumer rights and end up with a nasty shock when it comes to refunds.

With shoppers more likely than ever to want to save money this year, experts have warned to be vigilant when hitting the sales this Black Friday. Here, Jane Fraser, Senior Tutor shares their advice to ensure you can navigate the sales and know your rights.

Jane Fraser, Senior Tutor at The University of Law commented: “Shoppers rights are protected in most cases under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and Consumer Contract Regulations 2013, which cover common issues like refunds, problems with couriers and damages to your goods. It’s worth getting familiar with the legislation so you can be confident in your rights before you hit the sales.”

Watch out for “subscription traps”

Subscription traps have been under scrutiny by regulators for some time and are something to be particularly aware of during Black Friday. This “trap” is where consumers are lured into signing up for a subscription or service at a reduced rate or even for free, however, as a continuous payment agreement is often set up, the customer could find themselves locked into pricey contracts once that honeymoon period is over.

There are ways to cancel this if you do get caught out, but it can be complex and costly depending on the contract terms. The best advice is to always thoroughly check your contract and don’t sign up for anything you’re unsure of, regardless of how good the offer may seem at the time.

What are my rights when shopping online?

Generally speaking, you’re more protected when shopping online than you are when shopping in-person or over the phone. Shoppers can cancel their order and obtain a refund within 14 days of receiving their goods. This applies even if there is nothing wrong with the goods. Typically, shoppers have another 14 days to return the goods after they have told the seller that they want to cancel their order.

However, it’s strongly advised you check for any specific T&Cs from the retailer. While you may be entitled to a refund, you could also be liable for any postage costs for returning the item, which could prove costly for any big-ticket products.

What do I do if delivery goes wrong?

When shopping online, there’s the added worry of the courier getting the item to you on time and intact. There have been so many horror stories of couriers damaging goods en route, or delivering them to the wrong place entirely.

Under law, if the delivery has been arranged by the retailer, then it is the retailer who is responsible for any damages caused until you or a nominated person (i.e. a neighbour) receive your delivery in its entirety. You should also receive your order within 30 days as standard, unless explicitly agreed by both parties.

The only time this isn’t true is if you have arranged a courier yourself, in which case the issue is between you and the courier service directly.

Jane continued: “It can be so easy to be lured into exciting discounts and low prices, especially now as everyone is so cost conscious. No matter the circumstance, I would always strongly recommend familiarising yourself with any T&Cs before money is exchanged, and especially before you sign anything contractual. It’s rare that a business will deliberately try and catch you out but do remember their goal is to make money, so being savvy and understanding your rights is the best way to stay protected.”