It’s that time of year again, the turkeys are well gone, the presents are unwrapped and you want to start your year off with a bit of shopping seeing as the sales are on, you might as well take advantage of all the lovely things on offer, but make sure you know your rights! The January sales are a great time for shops to take advantage of bad consumers. You may think you are a good consumer but you might still be tricked into buying products which you think you need, but really you are only buying on the spur of the moment.
To ensure you don’t get into any bother with any purchases you make, here are some tips for you as a consumer during a sale:
- Make a list: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, have an idea of what you want and have some research done before you shop. Otherwise you may get side-tracked and buy items which you don’t need. Set a budget for your spending.
- If you wouldn’t buy it at full price, don’t buy it in the sales: Just because it is cheap, doesn’t make it a bargain. It is not a bargain unless you need it.
- Know your rights: Make sure you know your rights before purchasing a product and also know the shops policy (usually located at the back of the receipt) know whether the shop will give you a refund or any sort of redress if you decide you do not want this product. You are not entitled to your money back if you return an item that you do not like it or you changed your mind. The shop may give you a credit note to use in the shop, but you may not get a refund depending on the shop. However, if the product is faulty—the three R’s you are entitled to are repair, refund or a replacement.
- Proof of purchase: Always keep your receipts or any proof of purchase, like bank statement showing the purchase, or a credit card receipt. If the product is faulty you need to be able to show that it was purchased in their shop.
- Illegal signs: If there are signs up saying no refund or exchange during sale, that is not true, you can get a refund, replacement or repair if the item is faulty.
- Shop around: Although they might have 50% off in one shop, the product may still be cheaper in another shop down the street, so check all shops and get the best price.
- Don’t be sucked in: A lot of shops while you’re in the line to the till or checkout will have items either on sale or are very cheap in the hope that you pick it up on your way to the checkout.
- Try to avoid impulse buying: Do not shop on the spur of the moment. Stick to your list. Sales tend to encourage people to impulse buy. Remember if you don’t need it—it’s not a bargain.
- Get organised: A good time to get some Christmas shopping done for 2015 by picking up cards, decorations and wrapping paper which could be slashed up to 90%.
- These tips do not just apply during the January sales—they can be used all year round.
Stay calm, think of the staff that probably only got Christmas Day off. Happy Shopping!
Written by Darren Costello & Jessica Lynch, second year Business Studies students in Coláiste Bhaile Chláir.