Black Friday warning from Coventry Trading Standards

Try not to rush into hasty purchases, but instead to do your research first.

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, Coventry Trading Standards are warning residents not to rush into hasty purchases but instead to do your research first.

The ‘do it today’ nature of Black Friday, with its ‘unmissable offers’, makes the day particularly targetted by fraudsters looking take advantage of rushed shoppers.

Common tactics include dodgy posts on social media advertising Black Friday deals which are completely fraudulent. Once people have entered their bank details and send their money to the ‘seller’, they get absolutely nothing in return.

Depending on how quick the shopper is to change or cancel their cards, it also leaves a big open goal for scammers to buy things using their account.

Most importantly, be fraud aware and know your online shopping rights.

Coventry Trading Standards recommend these 10 tips for safer online shopping:

  • Only buy from reputable Internet traders you know and trust.
  • If you come across a trader you haven’t used or heard of before, search for reviews online or check out their customer ratings.
  • Don’t click promotional links sent to you by email or text or on social media such as Facebook, unless they are from genuine, verified accounts.
  • Make sure the trader has a genuine address and landline number you can contact if things go wrong, not just an email address.
  • Be wary if products are too cheap as there is normally a good reason – they may be fakes – counterfeit alcohol can contain dangerous chemicals and cheap electrical items may not meet current safety standards. ‘Whilst Counterfeit Ugg Boots aren’t going to kill you, a counterfeit charger or Nintendo DS or batteries could.’
  • Buying online gives you a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind and return/cancel most goods or services purchased from a UK or EU trader.
  • You can return faulty or misdescribed goods free of charge to a trader, but you may have to pay to return goods if you simply change your mind.
  • Tighten up security before you shop online especially before Cyber Monday. Make sure all software on your computer is up-to-date and if you don’t already have it, install an anti-malware program. 
  • Always use a secure form of payment to pay for goods or services, for example, PayPal. Never simply transfer money directly from your bank.
  • Don’t enter your card details into a website unless it is secure. Look out for the padlock sign and ‘https’ in the web address.
  • For purchases over £100, consider using a credit card for the purchase to give you extra consumer protection.

Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!