Christmas News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 12 December 2018

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Christmas News and Scam Alerts from Coventry Trading Standards - 12 December 2018

In this issue:

Christmas shopping tips from Trading Standards


Christmas time can be stressful and expensive so to make sure you're getting the most out of your pennies, check out our shopping survival guide:

Buying online - In most cases if you shop online you have a right to cancel and receive a full refund, even if you just don’t like the goods or have simply changed your mind. You normally have 14 days to cancel a contract unless the goods have been made specifically for you. Know who you are buying from and make sure you know where the trader is based. Check that online retailers are safe; ensure that the locked padlock symbol is visible when paying and be wary of websites that ask for personal information and are not high street names.

Faulty goods - You have statutory rights if goods you have purchased are faulty or not fit for purpose. Try to keep receipts or email confirmations as it will help if things go wrong and don’t delay in complaining. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 stores must offer a full refund if a faulty item is returned within 30 days

Unwanted gifts - Your statutory rights do not apply if you simply changed your mind. However, many shops have their own returns policy or offer a gift receipt, particularly when it comes to Christmas gifts, so you may find the shop is willing to refund or exchange your unwanted item without question. This does not impact in anyway, your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 Check out the store’s returns policy before you buy. Remember if you bought online, you may have additional rights - see above.

Product safety - Be safe this Christmas whether you are looking to buy Christmas lights, electrical goods as presents or even an extra heater to keep you warm. Make sure that your intended purchases have a CE mark, the manufacturer's identity or mark, ensure that it has a 3 pin plug, and more complex items should have warnings and instructions for use supplied The same advice applies to all toys, whether they are large expensive items or pocket money 'stocking fillers'. 

Fakes - In the current financial climate you may be tempted by a product for sale at a cheaper price. But, watch out, counterfeit goods such as computer games, clothing, perfume, electrical hair straighteners and jewellery may appear to be a bargain, but in practice they rarely are. The quality is often very poor. Electrical goods may be a fire or electrical shock hazard and perfumes and cosmetics may contain harmful substances. Plus you may be supporting organised crime with your purchase and you are depriving the legitimate industry and those who sell genuine goods.

Buying goods on your credit card - For items costing over £100, use a credit card as you get additional protection even if you only use your card to pay a small amount. If something goes wrong and the trader won’t help, the credit card company may have to step in. But make sure you pay it off in January to avoid interest charges.

Christmas loans - Some people may look to borrow in order to afford Christmas,and may even resort to using loan sharks. These illegal money lenders are unlicensed and operate outside the law. They not only take advantage of vulnerable borrowers but also bring disrepute to legitimate lenders and charge extortionate rates of interest. You must be certain if you are borrowing money that it is only coming from a reputable lender. Do you understand exactly what you are signing up to and what will happen if your financial situation gets worse? If you are in a circumstance where you have a bad credit history but are in need of a loan, consider seeking support from a Credit Union who can provide an effective and viable alternative to the so called ‘pay day lenders.’

To find your local credit union visit or call the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) on 0161 832 3694.

Call out charges - Not everything runs smoothly at Christmas. If you have to call out a tradesman for an emergency repair during this festive season make sure you know what the ‘call out’ or ‘minimum charge’ will be before you agree. Make sure you both understand what work will be carried out, what it will cost (or how it will be calculated) and when and how the trader expects payment.  A trader must provide an invoice or receipt showing full details of work carried out, including any parts supplied, labour and other costs. A trader must make any "call out" charge or "minimum charge" known to the customer prior to a visit being made. Remember, some home insurance policies may cover emergencies!

These warnings may seem extreme in some cases but experience shows that many people could be ripped off, or injured by poor quality gifts over the festive careful what you buy this Christmas and where you buy it from.

Trading Standards wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.

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Recall: Matalan recalls children's hats and gloves due to choking fears

Matalan is recalling two children's hats and a set of mittens due to choking fears.

The retailer is urging parents to make sure children do not wear the items and return them to their nearest store for a full refund.

Shoppers will not need to have their receipt in order to make the returns.

trapper Hat

Kids Cat Trapper Hat

Matalan is recalling its Cat Trapper Hat because some of the detailing on the item may pose a choking hazard for young children.

It was available to buy in sizes six months to four years, and has the following product code: M313502

Mouse Set

Kids 3D Mouse Trapper Hat and Mittens Set

Matalan is also recalling a mittens and hat set for the same reason.

The store have published the following statement:

"Due to the seriousness of this safety issue we are recalling these products, as our customers' health and safety is extremely important to us."

"Please make sure that your children do not wear this set. If you bought one of these sets, please return it to your nearest Matalan store as soon as possible where our staff will be happy to give you a full refund. You will not need to have your receipt."

"If you bought the above Kids' Mouse Trapper Hat and Mittens Set for someone else or know someone who has one then please let them know about this notice."

The Mouse Trapper Hat and Mittens Set was available to buy in sizes six months to four years and has the following product code: M313245

As well as returning the items to your nearest store for a full refund, customers can also contact the retailer's customer service line on 0333 0044444, or send an email to for further information.

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'Dangerous' children's hoodies seized in swoop on popular market


Children's hoodies with banned neck cords that could strangle a young child have been seized from a market by trading standards officers.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards officers were carrying out a safety inspection at the market when they found the dangerous hoodies. Officers were shocked to find the potentially lethal hoodies on sale at a stall at Wellesbourne Market as pull-through neck cords in young children’s clothing have been banned since 1976.

The cords pose a strangulation risk to young children who can get them caught on slides and climbing frames. In fact it is illegal for any clothing designed for a child aged under seven or 134cm in height to have a neck cord.

The hoodies, which were being sold as a set with joggers for £15, were being sold in sizes aged three to six.

All the dangerous clothing was seized and officers say that investigations are ongoing into the origin of the products.

Images of the clothing have been issued and those who think have purchased one of the products, which were displaying a range of fake designer brand labels, are being told not to allow their children to wear them or remove the cord entirely before use.

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