Trading Standards officers in Essex have issued a list of top tips to ensure that you are getting a real bargain in the New Year sales.
The team has issued ten top tips to follow when shoppers hit the shops.
Councillor Roger Walters said: “Sales are an integral part of the modern shopping experience and we all like to bag a bargain but some might not be as good as they appear."
"Often some retailers use psychological tricks and tactics to make sale items appear more attractive than they really are. We are just asking shoppers to think twice before making a purchase and we wish them an enjoyable sales experience.”
Essex County Council’s Trading Standards top tips for bargain shopping
Is that 70% off offer the bargain it appears to be? Some retailers plan to offer goods at a high price for a period of time and then drop the price considerably. Don’t assume that a 50% or 70% price reduction is a bargain without first researching the price other retailers are selling the item for.
Check prices with other similar retailers or online before hitting the High Street – this will give a better indication of the value of the sale item.
Avoid being drawn in by the advertised higher price. Decide whether you consider the price being charged to be good value.
Ensure you check if you can have a refund on sale goods, some retailers will only allow a credit note or they may stick to the law and offer no refund unless the goods are faulty or ‘mis-described’.
Don’t forget that you do not automatically have the right to a refund, exchange or replacement if the goods you have purchased are not faulty, whether they are sale items or not. But some shops refund as a gesture of goodwill.
If the goods are faulty you do have the right to a refund or replacement but only if the retailer has not already pointed out that the goods are faulty or damaged. If the damage or fault has been identified on the purchase you do not have the right to a refund or replacement – this will apply if the sale goods are seconds for example and aesthetic faults are made obvious to you at point of sale.
If the goods are more than £100, payment by credit card provides additional rights, but if you are unable to pay off the balance within the month, please be aware that your sale bargain could be quite expensive by the time the interest is added.
Ensure you find out how much interest you will have to pay if you purchase goods via a store card. The initial 10% or 20% off could be negated by the high interest rates due if you cannot pay the outstanding account straight away.
Care should be made when buying sale items from temporary or pop up shops; if the goods develop a fault the shop may have closed down by the time you go to take them back.
Bear in mind that unless you get there very early the genuine bargains may have already gone. Don’t confuse goods bought in as Special Purchases with regular items that have been discounted from the higher price they were charged at before Christmas.