Top Trading Standards tips to ensure a very merry Christmas

A view of Sutton High Street.

Support your local high street this festive season – but make sure you know your rights as a consumer!

With the winter holidays upon us, Trading Standards have put together some seasonal top tips to help ensure that it will be a truly happy Christmas all round:

1. By law, all goods must be of satisfactory quality, as they were described and fit for their intended purpose.  If not, provided you act quickly, you have the right to your money back or to ask for a replacement or a repair.

2. Remember that it is usually the purchaser of goods – and not the person who receives them as a gift – who has consumer rights if they turn out to be faulty.  However, shops may agree to sign over these rights to the person receiving the gift – ask the shop if they will give a ‘gift receipt’.

3. Check goods to make sure they work properly and are not damaged before you wrap them.  Keep packaging, instructions for use and any other information until you know that everything is all right.

4. Hang on to your receipts.  Traders are entitled to ask for some proof of purchase if you return faulty goods and it can make life a lot easier if you can prove when and where you bought them and how much you paid.

5. Your rights are the same wherever you buy goods – from a high street shop, a market trader, a street trader with a suitcase or from a temporary bargain shop.  However, your chances of returning goods diminish if there’s a possibility that traders may not be around after Christmas.

6. Goods bought in a sale should perform the same as if they were priced normally.  Your rights are the same unless defects are brought to your attention before you buy or should have been obvious if you’d examined the goods.

7. Buy the right size and colour.  If there’s nothing wrong with the item and you simply made a mistake or changed your mind, then you have NO legal rights.  Some retailers do have goodwill policies allowing these returns, so ask before you buy and get them to write the details on the receipt.

8. Consider buying goods costing over £100 with a credit card – you may get extra protection from the card issuer.

9. Don’t make any spur-of-the-moment decisions to buy on credit.  Compare APRs, consider the total cost involved and how long you’ll have to pay – you don’t want to still be paying for this year’s gifts next Christmas.

10. Watch out for fake goods.  Be suspicious of cheap discs and tapes or designer clothes and perfumes.  Your loved one won’t thank you if their gift smells more like Canal No. 5 or if that DVD turns out to be a DUD!

If you need civil advice on how to deal with a complaint or enquiry, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06. The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.

You can also use the internet to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service. Please visit www.adviceguide.org.uk where a wide range of consumer information and advice is available.

Local Citizens’ Help and Advice

www.suttonalps.org.uk

020 8254 2616

Citizens Advice Sutton is the lead agency for Advice Link Partnership Sutton (ALPS). ALPs is a partnership of local Not for Profit organisations providing free, confidential, independent and impartial advice for people who live or work in the London Borough of Sutton. You can contact Citizens Advice Sutton, Sutton Carers Centre and Age UK in the following ways:

Alps Web site – www.suttonalps.org.uk  –No email address is needed as we can call you back.

By Telephone call 020 8254 2616   between   9.00 and 5.00 Monday to Friday. Sutton Library & Heritage Service provides local community information from this number Monday – Friday from 9.30 – 5.00 pm.

The ALPS number also provides access to the following national organisations:

  • Samaritans
  • Citizens Advice Consumer Service
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline
  • Age UK Advice line
  • Carers Direct Helpline 

Citizens Advice Sutton, Sutton Carers Centre and Age UK Sutton are established registered local charities who have served the people of Sutton for many years providing free, confidential, independent and impartial advice on issues such as welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment and social care issues. 

Services from Citizens Advice Sutton

Citizens Advice Sutton holds the Advice Quality Standard for Advice. Our services are provided by both paid staff and volunteers.

Citizens Advice Sutton also provides various specialist services:

Pension Wise

Pension wise is a new, free, impartial and confidential guidance service from Government, to help people understand their pension choices. If you are aged 50 or over and have a Defined Contribution pension you are eligible for a face to face appointment. You can book an appointment by visiting www.pensionwise.gov.uk/ or telephone 0800 138 3944 

Debt Advice

The Capitalise team at Citizens Advice Sutton provides advice on all aspects of your debt and money issues. We are part of the Capitalise partnership and funded by the Money Advice Service.

We can help you to budget, maximise your income and provide you with all the options available to you to deal with your debts. We also have approved debt relief order intermediaries within the bureau to process debt relief orders (DROs).

We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 617761

You can contact us on either online www.suttonalps.org.uk

 or telephone 020 8405 3552   Monday- Friday   9:00am – 5:00pm.

 You can also directly access debt advice from debt hotline located in the Jubilee Health Centre.

Specialist housing advice

The housing solicitor at Citizens Advice Sutton can assist clients entitled to legal aid with certain housing issues including possession, disrepair, homelessness, anti-social behaviour and eviction  To book an appointment please call us on 020 8405 3552 between   9.00 and 5.00   Monday to Friday or submit an enquiry via our website www.suttonalps.org.uk

Carers Centre – outreach sessions

Citizens Advice Sutton offers appointments at Sutton Carers Centre ,on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am & 5pm at 12-14 Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DA · To book an appointment call the Carers Centre on 020 8296 5611or call 020 8254 2616   .

Sutton Mental Health Foundation (SMHF) – outreach session

Citizens Advice Sutton provides advice at Sutton Mental Foundation on Thursdays for people experiencing mental distress. SMHF is at 63 Downs Road Belmont, Sutton SM2 5NR  and Cheam Resource Centre, 671 London Rd, North Cheam SM3 9DL. To book an appointment to see a Citizens Advice Sutton adviser at SMHF telephone 020 8770 0172. 

Direct into advice line (DiAL)

DiAL is funded by the big lottery to provide priority access to telephone advice for those in urgent need or those with difficulty accessing advice services. You can get immediate, direct telephone advice from Citizens Advice Sutton, Age UK Sutton and Refugee and Migrant Network Sutton by asking staff to connect you at Homestart, Children’s Centres, Sutton Mental Health foundation and the Womens Centre. It operates Monday to Friday between 10.00 am to 12.30 pm and 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm.

Royal Association for the Deaf (RAD)

RAD provides a drop in service and appointments on Mondays between 10am and 4pm at Citizens Advice Sutton, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, SM1 1EA. An RAD adviser provides BSL advice on benefits, employment, debt, form filling and understanding correspondence. Text 07749965727 to book an appointment or call 0845 688 2525. Email advice@royaldeaf.org.uk.

Sutton Uplift

Sutton’s Primary Care Mental Health Service, Sutton Uplift, hold a Wellbeing Drop in Clinic in the Sutton bureau every Monday between 9-5pm.  The Wellbeing Navigators will be able to offer information, and advice around wellbeing and practical issues that may be impacting on people’s daily lives, including offering ongoing short term one to one sessions if needed. Sutton Uplift aims “to help people to connect and access activities and resources to meet their physical, social and emotional needs.  Our team are experienced in supporting people with their Wellbeing, either professionally or through lived experience.” Contact them on 0800 032 1411 or 020 3513 4044, lines are open 9am to 6pm. Website http://www.suttonuplift.co.uk/.