Stay savvy when doing last-minute Christmas Shopping and in the January Sales

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Trading Standards

Worcestershire Trading Standards are giving residents some top tips to ensure they shop savvy and stay safe during last minute Christmas Shopping and when looking forward to January Sales.

Christmas Shopping sees the highest retail sales of the year, with online sales expected to make up a third of all shopping done over the festive period.

The value of online shopping has increased massively in recent years, with UK households spending significantly more in December.

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It’s important for us to remind residents of the potential risks to look out for and of their consumer rights this Christmas when buying those important Christmas gifts, and as we look ahead to the January Sales.

If residents have any concerns about any item they have bought or received and would like some advice on their consumer rights they should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33.”

If you are hoping to grab a bargain, there are a few things to consider before you head to the shops, or open your device to shop online:

Internet Shopping

This year, it is likely more of us will do at least some of our Christmas shopping online. This can have its pitfalls and you may find that you are using a bogus site which takes your money but gives you nothing in return, or you may inadvertently buy fake, low quality, dangerous goods.

There are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself from such problems. Research the website. Does it display a geographical address and phone number in the UK where you can contact the trader? If you are paying for goods online using a credit card, check the site is secure by looking for a ‘padlock’ symbol in the browser window. The web address should also start with ‘https//’.

Parcel delivery scams

This was the most reported scam in 2023, according to Action Fraud.
If you receive a postcard or phonecall, please do not call the number provided or provide any further information, Do not give your card details and if you receive a delivery card through your letterbox which you do not believe is genuine and which asks you to dial a premium rate number, you can contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212 (open from Monday to Friday, between 8am-6pm) for further guidance.

Counterfeit goods

Be careful not to fall for fakes if tempted to buy cheap products from car boot sales, internet auctions, social media sites and other websites, as gifts this festive season.  These can offer a temptingly cheap alternative to buying from high street shops, but fake goods are often made from inferior materials, can be dangerous, and could result in injury or even death. 


If we receive a gift that we don’t like, we don’t automatically have the right to return it for a refund. In most cases, only the person who purchased the item can return it. The shop only has to offer a refund if the item is not as described or is below satisfactory quality. Some high street stores do offer a more generous returns policy, but you should always check first.  Some retailers offer additional rights if the goods are being purchased as presents.  

No Refunds

You have the right to return goods to a shop for a remedy if the item does not meet its description or they are faulty. For the first 30 days the onus is on the seller to show the goods were not faulty when purchased. After that, it falls to the consumer. 

You can return an item to an on-line retailer for a refund up to 14 days after delivery, unless the product was a bespoke one made following your instructions, even if there is nothing wrong with the item.

The quicker you return an item to a shop, the easier it can be to sort out any problems. You will need to have the receipt or some other form of proof of purchase to show where and when the item was bought.