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Be a stronger shopper this Christmas - know your rights

28 November 2011

The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has today launched its "Stronger Shopper's Guide" to coincide with the festive season spending and to raise awareness among consumers of their shoppers' rights. In January of this year, the NCA helpline received over 4,600 calls from consumers on their rights.

The guide, available on the NCA's website www.nca.ie, contains information on shoppers' rights in a number of areas including returning faulty or unwanted presents and using gift vouchers. It also gives information on your rights when buying online, including what to do if you change your mind, and shopping in the sales. There are money saving tips to help shoppers keep their spending within budget as well. 

Ann Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the NCA, remarked: "The festive season is almost upon us and we are encouraging consumers to be fully aware of their rights before they begin their Christmas shopping. Armed with the correct information before they buy this year can lead to less disappointment and frustrations in the New Year.

"For example, consumers may not be aware that the same consumer rights still apply to goods bought in the sales, or if you are buying online from an EU website you have seven working days from the date the item was delivered to cancel the order and return it, even if it's just because you don't like it."

The guide also covers toy safety and provides shoppers with tips on what to look out for if they are buying toys, such as to check that the toy displays the CE mark to show it meets EU safety standards.  The toy safety booklet has practical tips for buying toys including a checklist that shoppers can download to help them buy safe toys for children.

Ms Fitzgerald also offered consumers advice if they are buying gifts on online deal and discount sites.

"There has been an explosion in online deal sites in recent months and consumers may be considering buying a deal as a present for Christmas. While you may be able to get a great present for a family or friend at a reduced price from online deal sites, we would urge consumers to do some research on the company offering the deal before you sign up.

"If you are giving a gift voucher or an online deal as a present, check what terms and conditions apply and the expiry date as well. It is a good idea to pass the terms and conditions on to the recipient too."

The NCA's consumer website, www.nca.ie, provides consumers with a one-stop-shop for information on consumer rights and personal finance. The site contains the stronger shopper's rights guide, information on toy safety and money saving tips to help shoppers manage their Christmas spending, as well as information on consumer rights across a wide range of products and services.