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Black Friday warning from Devon and Cornwall Police

Black Friday warning from Devon and Cornwall Police

Published by Emma Carton at 10:11am 29th November 2019. (Updated at 3:03pm 29th November 2019)

Devon and Cornwall Police have tweeted a string of warnings on Black Friday.

The force says shoppers will spend an average of £220 pounds each.

We are being urged to watch out for dodgy deals, as Which? claims just 1 in 20 is actually cheaper than usual.

The consumer group is worried too many customers are sucked in by the hype in the run-up to Christmas.

What is the advice from police and Citizens Advice?

Citizens Advice Cornwall has published its top tips to keep consumers safe and savvy on Black Friday.

The charity says nationwide, it has dealt with almost half a million consumer-related issues in the last year.

That is everything from missing parcels to faulty washing machines and fake designer goods.

"At this time of year many people may feel the pressure to part with their money.

"It is important that anyone thinking about turning to credit or taking out a loan to help pay for purchases understands the full costs involved and if they can actually afford to pay it back.

"If you are struggling with your finances, it is essential to do something about it as soon as possible. 

"You can get free debt and money advice from Citizens Advice to find a way forward and avoid spiralling debts".

Gill Pipkin, Citizens Advice Cornwall

Shopping on Black Friday? Citizens Advice says ask yourself these five questions first...

What can I do if I change my mind about a purchase?

Unless you made your purchase online, shops are not legally required to accept returns for unwanted goods. Despite this, the shop may choose to have its own returns policy. If it does, they must honour it, so it's worth checking your receipt. If you buy online however, unless it is bespoke or made to measure, by law you will get an automatic 14-day cooling off period. This starts the day after you receive your order, and there does not need to be anything wrong with the item for you to get a refund.

What do I do if I am worried my purchase is faulty?

If something has gone wrong with an item you have bought, you may be entitled to a refund. You will have legal rights if you unwittingly bought an item that is broken or damaged, unusable, not what was advertised or does not match the seller's description. You will have to move quickly, as you only have 30 days to return something that is faulty with the guarantee of getting your money back. Your rights do not end after 30 days, though after this period the retailer does not necessarily have to refund you, instead they have the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product.

What do I do if I am worried about scams?

Be careful not to end up with a counterfeit item. Secure websites should start "https" and have a padlock symbol in the taskbar. Be wary of spelling or grammar mistakes, and companies that do not provide an address.
Also seek out reviews of the seller from other buyers as these can help you decide whether or not you trust the seller. If there is a lot of negative feedback from other people, it is a sign that something is not right. If you are worried that something you have seen online might be a scam, you can get advice with a Citizens Advice Scams Action adviser by calling 0300 330 3003. You can also read tips to avoid a scam on the Action Fraud website here.

What do I do if there is a problem with my delivery?

If you bought something to be delivered, it is the seller's responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If the seller used a delivery company, they should chase the company to find out what has happened to your order - it is not your responsibility. Check the delivery address you gave the seller. Then contact them and ask where your order is.

How can I make sure I stick within my budget?

As well as making sure you are clued up on your consumer rights, do not get roped into buying something you cannot afford. Citizens Advice offers the following tips to make sure you are staying within your budget:

  • Spend time shopping around, researching what deals are on offer and getting advice.
  • Always look at the total amount you will have to repay when borrowing money. A shorter repayment period may be better than a slightly lower Annual Percentage Rate (APR) amount.
  • Take care when looking at buy-now-pay-later deals. It might seem like a good option but you'll need to make sure you pay on time in future. If you don't these deals can be very expensive.
  • Never borrow money on the spur of the moment. Think about payment options beforehand. Work out your budget and stick to it so that you can afford the repayments.

You can read more advice from Citizens Advice here.

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