Are your Christmas Purchases Safe?
Across the country people are starting their Christmas shopping, buying toys and gadgets for family and friends. Many of our gifts will have been manufactured in other countries and imported to the U.K. But are you purchases safe?
You can do a number of things to check your purchases will be safe. Citizens Advice recommends that you:
- Read all warnings and instructions carefully and be aware of age and safety recommendations, especially in the case of toys.
- Check the item comes with a CE marking and the manufacturer’s name. A CE marking means the product complies with European health and safety requirements.
- Keep on the lookout for fake products by checking the CE marking. Sometimes the wrong marking is used entirely. If it looks correct, a giveaway may be the middle line of ‘E’, which should be slightly shorter than the other parts. For more information about CE marking, and to see an example of exactly what it should look like, see here: ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking_en
- Make sure you’re buying from trustworthy shops and online outlets. If you’re shopping online, check whether you’re buying from a third-party seller and try and find out as much about them as you can.
- Look for things like customer reviews or search for the company online to see what people are saying about them. You can also try contacting the company and asking for safety information.
- If an offer seems too good to be true, it may well be. Trustworthy shops take care with the products they sell and usually accept returns. On the other hand, rogue traders tend to ignore health and safety rules, and may also sell fake products.
- Always report a safety problem: Tell the manufacturer and the shop or seller that you bought the product from. Also report the unsafe item to Trading Standards. Trading Standards will investigate and may take action to prevent further sales of the product, or recall the product, or prevent the trader from trading in the future. For information on how to report to Trading Standards, see here: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards
- Lastly, you can check whether the product has ever been recalled for an issue before. Visit campaign.gov.uk to check.
Citizens Advice also recommends that you speak with your children about how best to stay safe while having fun.
Remember, if you’re in doubt, you don’t have to buy the product. And you can always contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 for further help with any item or service you’ve bought, or to report an issue.