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How To Avoid The Pitfalls Of Bargain Shopping, Best Tips To Purchasing Products

Updated on August 8, 2011

Do you want to avoid the pitfalls of bargain shopping? Or perhaps you didn't think there were any pitfalls - you just grab that bargain and rush to pay for it before your competition gets it?

You think you might have rights and that the law is on your side when it comes to purchasing things. Well, you could be wrong.

In this article we make it clear as to what your rights are and how to go about protecting yourself. It's a jungle out there and you just don't want to be caught!


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                                           Do you know your rights?

Checking Your Rights From Retailers

Only 18 percent of consumers check their rights from a retailers returns policy, according to a well known British Consumer Watchdog - Which?

You think that is high, well, it is even higher for those purchasing goods online. This is a massive 34%!

This is shocking. I rarely check myself - I am ashamed to say - because I assume that I am covered under the usual consumer rules and regulations governed by the UK, and hoping that this is the same all over the world.

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Severe Returns Policy From The High Street

We all love bargain shopping. There is nothing better than bagging that bargain and to feel the sense of pride on how much we have saved. But can a bargain be false economy when you don't know your rights?

Not many people know their rights when bargain shopping online or in their town, so knowing the fundamentals can be the saving grace should you need to return items.

For example. Did you know that on the High Street, if the item is an unwanted gift, the returns policy can be pretty severe. It appears that the retailer can design a rule to completely suit themselves. However, many will refund, exchange or offer a credit note as a goodwill gesture, but they don't have to!

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No Rights

Legally, consumers don't have rights in taking back goods on the High Street because they no longer want the said item, so it is best to check out stores that offer a 'no quibbles' returns guarantee.

Remember to get a receipt and check the company policy on this issue!

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Is It Worth Shopping On The High Street?

So, is it worth shopping on the High Street in order to gather shopping bargains? If you consider car parking charges, crowded and overwhelming stock towering over you, is it not better to go online?

Well, if you buy items on the internet, you do have the same rights as if you were a high street shopper. However, you have the additional benefit of a seven day cooling off period from when you receive the item. You do have the right to a full refund, whatever the reason you may have in returning it.

However, there is a flaw to your rights. If the item was personalised, liable to spoil or differs in condition to when it was delivered - for example a DVD that is unsealed - then your rights are revoked. It is worth noting that when you do bargain shop online, the web-site's terms and conditions should be transparent and easily viewed as to who is responsible for paying the postal charges for the item's return.

This is precisely why I love shopping on Amazon. You never have a quibble and they always pay for the return of the item!

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What About Faulty Goods?

Suppose after you have purchased that perfect bargain shopping item, it develops a fault? Well, the best advice is to return the item as soon as the fault occurs. It is worth noting that you do not need a receipt to get a refund for faulty goods, but you should be able to prove that you purchased the said item - so a bank statement will suffice.

Whether this is online or from a high street retailer, this rule applies. But remember that the guarantee for most items is only a year - so check this carefully as some items do offer a life-time guarantee.

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Payment Protection

Here is a good tip for you, whether you buy online or from the high street. If you pay by credit card or Visa debit card, can protect you. You can claim your money back from the card company if you are the victim of scamming or the company has gone bust, provided they have taken funds before delivery. This applies to purchases over £100.

It is reassuring to know that the Visa charge-back scheme, as it is known as, and section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, are jointly liable for the failure to provide goods or services for the company that you originally paid.

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Rights On Delivery

Purchasing from online retailers allows them up to 30 days for delivery. It is worth checking with the online retailer first. Some offer shorter delivery times and, if they do, it makes them liable for a refund should your item turn up late.

Counterfeit Bargain Shopping

Named brands. You love them! So, why not search them out on your bargain shopping trip? Beware! Online shopping scams can involve a product saying it is something that it is not!

Businesses might look genuine, with their sleek design - they might even look like the real mccoy - but they could just take your money and run. Check their credentials by looking for a land-line telephone number and address.

Look out for overseas companies and check their privacy and returns policy. Although some are genuine, there are many out their selling counterfeit goods. That is not to say that there aren't any being sold closer to home, but it seems that these items might not be the bargain shopping you hoped for. Check for reputable retailers that are renowned and legitimate in the realms of official merchandise. For example, go to the Manchester United website for Manchester United shirts - not Wong Chong Ebay!

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Essential Information For Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Bargain Shopping

It is always worth while checking for practices and policies wherever you purchase from. This is especially the case if you are bargain shopping - so avoid the pitfalls! For example, if you purchase an item knowing that it is flawed, faulty or shop soiled, don't expect a refund! Although, if the item doesn't clearly state this, you do have some grounds. It seems like common sense, doesn't it? So, why does this goes out of the window when we rush to bag that bargain?!

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Truckstop Sally - it is a jungle out there!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

      We must be aware consumers. Thanks for the tips!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Pamela99 - It is always best to check the store's terms before buying. It isnt always practical, but essential. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Shaz, That is a terrible, not having a return policy. Almost all of the stores in the US do have a good return policy but most want to see your sales slip unless it is on your store credit card. Interesting hub.