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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AT CHRISTMAS

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With an extra£6bn spent on the high street in December, ...
With an extra £6bn spent on the high street in December,

consumer minister Gerry Sutcliffe is today reminding people of their

rights when returning presents that don't come up to scratch.

But just because the reindeer sweater or comedy socks might not be to

everyone's taste, goods must be faulty before a refund or exchange

can be expected.

Mr Sutcliffe said:

'If people open their presents on Christmas Day and find they are

broken or don't work properly, they are entitled to a refund whether

the presents were bought at shops, street markets, mail order

catalogues or door-to-door sellers.

'Many people are unaware of their rights when it comes to faulty

goods. Knowing your rights gives shoppers a much better chance of

getting problems sorted out.'

Key points to remember are:

- Your legal rights are against the seller. Don't be put off by

arguments that it's the manufacturer's fault.

- If you act quickly you are entitled to a refund. Don't be fobbed

off with a replacement, repair or credit note.

- If you keep the goods for a longer trial period you may lose the

right to a refund, but you can still claim for compensation, repair

or replacement.

- If you request a repair or replacement, for the first six months

the seller has to prove that the goods were not faulty when you

bought them - not the other way round.

- You do not have to have a receipt when returning faulty goods, but

it may be reasonable for the shop to ask for some proof of purchase

- for example a credit card slip, cheque stub or bank statement.

It is important to remember that these rights only apply to the

person who bought the present, not the recipient, so people may have

to ask the friend or relative who bought the present to take it back.

And there is no legal redress for people who damage things or make a

mistake - for example if something is the wrong size, or colour.

If you are not satisfied with the response, write to the shop or head

office. Further advice is available from Citizens Advice Bureau or

Trading Standards (both in the local phone book), and if you have a

good case, the Small Claims Court can be a cheap and effective

option.

* More detailed advice is available here.

Press Notice from the Scottish Executive follows:

CHRISTMAS SHOPPERS WARNED ABOUT DODGY GOODS

Consumers shopping for Christmas presents were today warned about the dangers of dodgy or counterfeit goods.

Minister for finance and public services Andy Kerr issued the warning as many people in Scotland are buying last-minute gifts for friends and family in the run-up to 25 December. Dodgy goods can be disappointing or downright dangerous and could ruin Christmas.

Mr Kerr praised the good work done by local authority trading standards officers to block these goods and protect the public. He said:

'Many people in Scotland will be buying last-minute gifts for friends and family this week in the run-up to December 25. We all love giving and receiving presents at Christmas ??? but that enjoyment can be ruined by dodgy or counterfeit goods.

'They can, of course, be disappointing and ruin Christmas ??? the toys that don't work or the fake item of designer clothing that falls apart after one wash. But the consequences are often more serious ??? counterfeit goods can be extremely dangerous. Toys can be breaching safety standards and may cause injury when used.

'It is easy to be tempted by what appears to be a bargain ??? but the dodgy characters who peddle counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers can have links to organised crime and drugs and are making money at the expense of others.

'My advice to consumers this Christmas is always buy from reputable traders and, if in doubt, seek the advice of trading standards officers.

'Local a uthority trading standards officers are working hard to keep these goods off the streets and protect the public this Christmas. Across Scotland, they are monitoring, testing and confiscating any items that appear not to be authentic.

'But the easiest way to avoid the disappointment and danger that dodgy goods can pose is not to buy them in the first place. Follow the advice of trading standards and don't let your Christmas be ruined.'

The trading standards service enforces the law and regulations that govern goods and services which we buy, hire and sell. The service is delivered by local government and includes advice services for business and consumers. For further details on Trading Standards and consumer advice, visit www.tradingstandards.gov.uk

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