Which? helps shoppers avoid a nightmare before Christmas

With new Which? research revealing that nearly nine in ten (88%) Britons bought Christmas presents online last year, the consumer champion is reminding shoppers of their rights on what is reportedly the busiest online shopping day of the year.
‘Cyber Monday’ sees thousands of us attempting to dodge the Christmas crowds by purchasing our presents at the click of a mouse and online retailers now mark the event with promotional deals and activity. A third of us now grab most of our gifts online and 5% do all of their seasonal shopping from the comfort of their own homes.
But despite the allure of convenience and potential money-savings, consumers can sometimes lose sight of their legal entitlements in pursuit of a bargain.
To this end, Which? Legal Service has produced a free 16-page Shop Smart guide to help consumers remember their rights during the festive period and it includes advice and case studies on buying online and on the high street, different payment methods, faulty goods, returns, replacements, shopping in the sales and the non-delivery of goods.
The last of these has proved to be a particular bugbear of consumers with one in five (22%) having experienced delivery problems last Christmas. The most common complaint was goods arriving late with a quarter of those who were left waiting reporting that they still encountered delays despite ordering gifts more than a month before the company’s delivery cut-off date.
When it comes to returning goods, the main gripe consumers have is being told by retailers that it is the manufacturers’ responsibility to deal with faulty goods, not the retailer, with half of those polled (52%) citing this as an annoyance.
Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said:
“Many of us now prefer to complete our shopping online rather than brave busy shopping centres, but it’s important to know your consumer rights however you buy your Christmas presents.
“Unhappy shoppers lose millions of pounds annually by not exercising their rights to return goods and a fair chunk of this comes over the festive period. Consumers have long used the legal advice on our consumer rights website and we now have a free guide so shoppers can have the information at their fingertips when they most need it.”
Notes to editors
1. Populus, on behalf of Which? interviewed 2,025 UK adults online between 27th and 28th November 2013. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
2. Consumers wanting to obtain a copy of the free, 16-page Shop Smart guide can call 0808 250 8371.
3. Consumers looking for the solution to other everyday problems can visit: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/


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