Consumers urged to be aware of their rights
Consumers have been urged to consider the dangers of using online marketplaces this Black Friday after more than 13,000 issues were reported to Citizens Advice across the UK last year.
Research shows that 73% of UK adults now use online marketplaces, which are websites where businesses and private individuals list and sell their products, but more than 50% do not know they have fewer rights when they buy from a private seller, compared to if they buy from a business.
Around 1,390 cases were reported in Scotland alone last year, with more than a quarter of people saying they were sold faulty goods or goods that became defective shortly after sale.
Sub-standard service from sellers and a failure or delay in goods being delivered were also among the top bugbears reported.
Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “Today is Black Friday – the biggest day of the year for online purchases – and next week is National Consumer Week, kicking off with Cyber Monday.
“So this seems like a good time to remind Scots that there are specific risks to buying in online marketplaces, but also that they have consumer rights and should be aware of these if something goes wrong.
“Before clicking the buy button, it is really important that you check the product information, otherwise you risk being left out of pocket.
“We also recommend reading previous reviews and saving screenshots of your purchases.
“Also, remember that you lose financial protection when you don’t use a credit card or an authorised transaction site such as Paypal.
“The Citizens Advice network is always ready to help people who feel they have been mistreated, but the best way to avoid the problem is to follow our top tips when buying online.”
Citizens Advice Scotland said consumers should always check the product details, take screenshots of the item they want to buy, use a payment method that protects them, and go back to the seller if there’s a problem.
Free advice is available by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.