Advance fee fraud

Advance fee fraud

What is advance fee fraud? ‘Advance fee fraud’ (also known as ‘upfront fee fraud’) is a scam that involves a victim making a payment in advance (an upfront fee) in exchange for a promise of wealth, gifts, prizes, employment or similar financial benefit. Originally called the ‘Spanish Prisoner Letter’, advance fee fraud has been around since the sixteenth century and victims have been targeted by post. Nowadays, victims are contacted by various methods including post,…

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Bogus charity collection scams

Bogus charity collection scams

In times of austerity the number of scams aimed at conning people out of their hard-earned money unfortunately tends to rise. In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of scams involving charities, whereby individuals either pretend to be raising money for a particular charity, and then keep the money for themselves, or create a bogus charity, which is not registered, and the good cause it claims to help will never…

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Career opportunities

Career opportunities

The scam You're tempted with an opportunity to launch an exciting new career – for instance, as an author, a model or an inventor, or perhaps as a mystery shopper. All you have to do to guarantee success is to pay an upfront fee for training, study aids or materials. Unfortunately, you get little or nothing in return. In another version of this scam, you have to call a premium-rate phone number (beginning 090) to…

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Chain letters

Chain letters

The scam You receive an unexpected letter or email with a list of names. After being asked to send £10 to the person at the top of the list, you are then invited to put your own name on the list, photocopy the letter, send it out to, say, 200 people. According to the letter, you will be guaranteed a return of £400,000 for your £10 initial investment. This chain-letter scam operates in a similar…

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Changing supplier & moving home

Cheque overpayment

Cheque overpayment

The scam Someone responds to your ad or eBay posting with an offer to pay by cheque. At the last minute, the buyer comes up with a reason for writing the cheque for more than the purchase price, and asks you to transfer back the difference after you deposit it. Usually, the cheque is counterfeit, but it'll be good enough to fool bank staff at first. You transfer back some money to the buyer before…

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Clairvoyants and psychics

Clairvoyants and psychics

The scam A letter from a so-called psychic or clairvoyant promises to make predictions that will change the course of your life forever – but first you have to pay a fee. Sometimes these mailings are aggressive, saying something terrible will happen to you if you don’t pay up. Or the scammer says they have seen wonderful things in your future, and requests money for a full report. If you send money, you will get…

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Counterfeit goods (after you buy)

Counterfeit goods (after you buy)

Be aware of Buying overseas Counterfeit goods Doorstep selling Counterfeit goods are a huge problem and they are becoming more widely available. Technology levels have improved so much that it is easy for criminals to make sophisticated copies. What are the most common fakes? How can you avoid buying fakes? Why should you avoid buying fakes? What does the law say? What can you do? Back to top What are the most common fakes? Designer…

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Counterfeit goods (before you buy)

Counterfeit goods (before you buy)

Counterfeit goods include fake designer labelled clothes and perfumes, pirate DVDs and computer games. These days, technology means that it is easy for criminals to make sophisticated copies. If you think you've bought a fake item, there are a number of legal rights that you could use against the seller. What does the law say? What can you do? Back to top What does the law say? It is unlawful to apply a registered trade…

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Cut junk mail and calls

Cut junk mail and calls

Junk mail and sales calls can be the bane of the typical homeowner in the UK. In fact, recent surveys suggest that cold calling is reaching record levels, as more and more companies use home phone lines as a way in for a quick sale. Many UK homeowners and occupiers despair at junk mail and unsolicited phone calls; however, there are lots of things that can be done to limit the amount of junk mail…

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Energy

Energy

The following advice is offered to help you when dealing with energy supply issues: Template Letter Further Help Changing Supplier & Moving Home Debt Advice Safety Managing Your Bills   Emergency Contact Information:   Gas Gas Emergency Contact Number: 0800 111 999 Electricity   Central Networks Eastern Region: 0800 056 8090 Central Networks Western Region: 0800 328 1111 EDF Distribution East of England: 0800 783 8838 EDF Distribution London: 0800 028 0247 EDF Distribution South…

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Financial scams – how to protect yourself

Financial scams – how to protect yourself

Criminals regularly invent new scams to try and make money from you illegally; each year around 28 million UK consumers are targeted and 1 billion is lost. While the methods may change, the ways to protect yourself remain the same – staying alert and taking some simple precautions. What is a scam? A scam is an illegal scheme to make money by deception. Scams come in different forms, including letters, emails, telephone calls and text…

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Further Help&nbsp

General insurance: types and how to shop around

General insurance: types and how to shop around

General insurance includes most insurance except life insurance. You can shop around for general insurance and buy direct, or get advice. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulates most sales of general insurance and pure protection insurance. This means firms must follow certain rules and standards when dealing with you. Types of general insurance General insurance only pays out when an insured event occurs. It includes: home insurance (contents and/or buildings) car insurance travel insurance private…

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Getting advice on insurance products

Getting advice on insurance products

You can buy insurance based on information only or after getting advice. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulates most sales of insurance in the UK. Insurance advisers must only recommend an insurance policy that’s suitable for you. The difference between advice and information When you get insurance advice, the broker or adviser looks at your individual circumstances and needs and recommends a policy to meet them. This often involves a face-to-face meeting, but you can…

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Getting advice on your savings and investments

Getting advice on your savings and investments

When getting advice on your savings and investments it’s important to know what type you’re getting and to check that your adviser is authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). You also need to understand whether you’re getting advice or just ‘information’. Difference between information and advice If you’re looking for savings or investment advice it’s important to bear in mind a few key points: anyone advising on or selling investments (eg life insurance, pensions,…

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Holiday clubs

Holiday clubs

The scam You get a phone call at home or you're approached while on holiday and handed a scratch card. You're told you've won a 'free' holiday. All you need to do is go to a presentation to collect your prize and learn more about a new holiday venture – the holiday club. Often the presentation will be at a plush hotel. The brochures will look convincing. You will be told that, in return for…

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Holidays and travel (before you buy)

Holidays and travel (before you buy)

Choose travel agents and tour operators who belong to a recognised trade association that have a code of practice. Look for ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) or AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) on brochures or invoices. Package holidays A package holiday includes at least two of the following as a pre-arranged combination: transport accommodation other significant tourist services (such as reps or excursions paid at time of booking holiday). It is sold at…

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Home improvements and building&nbsp

Home improvements and building&nbsp

When you have hired a builder or contractor to carry out home improvements or building work, follow our guidelines to make sure that you pay a fair price for a satisfactory job. Things to check Payment Back to top Things to check Make sure you have a written quote and contract covering the work, the price, payment arrangements and start/finish dates. Before you make any final payment make sure you are satisfied the work has…

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Hopw can I reuse or dispose of electrical equipment?

Hopw can I reuse or dispose of electrical equipment?

Every year, people in Britain throw away nearly half a million tonnes of electrical items. Save money and energy by keeping items like computers and mobiles for longer. Help stop harmful chemicals getting into the environment by recycling electrical items, rather than putting them with household rubbish. Keep equipment for longer Most mobile phones will work for at least five years Making electrical items uses a lot of energy and valuable materials, including precious metals…

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How can I avoid wastage?

How can I avoid wastage?

If everyone in the world lived like people in the UK, it would take about three planets worth of resources to support us. The energy and materials wasted in the UK put pressure on the environment here and around the world. The wider issue Human demands on world resources have doubled over the last 40 years. Like most developed countries, the UK uses more than its fair share of natural resources like fuel, raw materials…

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How can I be greener when I do DIY?

How can I be greener when I do DIY?

Every year in the UK, more than 14 billion is spent on timber, paints, varnishes and other materials for home DIY projects. By reusing materials, buying sustainable wood and greener paints, and selecting your projects carefully, you can reduce your impact on the environment. Choose jobs that make a difference to the environment Greener DIY in the garden Many DIY projects can save energy and water while making your home more comfortable. For example: insulating…

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How can I be greener when shopping?

How can I be greener when shopping?

These days many people are looking for products and ways to shop that will have a limited impact of the environment. If you’re looking to go green when you shop here are a few useful tips. Energy efficiency If you’re buying electrical items, you should be able to buy ones that are energy efficient. You should look for the triangular energy efficiency label. Not only are you helping the environment by reducing your consumption of…

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How can I check and improve my credit report?

How can I check and improve my credit report?

A credit report is a report about an individual or company’s credit standings. Credit describes when you have bought or financed something by borrowing money. The most common example of buying on credit is the use of a credit card, when the money you spend is not actually money you have and will have to pay back (usually with a hefty interest charge). Often, businesses will take out loans to purchase stock and individuals will…

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How can I complain about misleading adverts?

How can I complain about misleading adverts?

Although advertising is required by companies in order to attract custom, some companies set out to mislead consumers with their advertisements by trying to sell goods or services that are not what they purport to be. These types of advertisements are against the law. How is advertising in the UK controlled? There are various codes of practice, which largely govern advertising in the UK, with the aim of ensuring fairness for advertisers and protection for…

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How can I complain about ticket fraud?

How can I complain about ticket fraud?

Getting tickets to popular entertainment and sporting events is not always easy. Tickets often sell out quickly, which can be a source of disappointment when you have been really looking forward to attending. It is this same disappointment that can sometimes tempt you to buy tickets from sources other than official ticket outlets, but dangers lurk around the corner for those of you who do. According to the latest (2015) figures issued by the City…

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How can I contact the Financial Services Authority?

How can I contact the Financial Services Authority?

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body that regulates the financial services industry in the UK. It is accountable to Treasury Ministers, and through them to Parliament. It works to promote efficient, orderly and fair financial markets and help retail financial service consumers get a fair deal. Financial Services Authority Contact point Financial Services Authority Address 25 The North Colonnade Canary Wharf London E14 5HS Phone number 020 7066 1000 FSA Consumer…

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How can I help avoid identity theft?

How can I help avoid identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone pretends to be you. Criminals find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name. Your identity can be stolen in many different ways, so it is important to be vigilant and take steps to avoid being a victim of identity theft. How can your identity be stolen? There are…

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How can I protect my money and personal information?

How can I protect my money and personal information?

Protecting your money There are countless scam artists employing increasingly ingenious ways of stealing your money. However, if you follow the tips provided in this guide, you will minimise the chances of falling prey to them. In relation to scams, the rule of thumb is: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Credit, debit card and PIN safety and security: Do not write down your PIN or reveal it to anyone…

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How can I recycle more at home?

How can I recycle more at home?

Nearly two-thirds of all household rubbish can be recycled, saving energy and avoiding waste going to landfill. Find out how to recycle a wide range of goods – from batteries to clothes – and discover how recycling can help protect the environment. Why recycle? Recycling cuts down on the need for landfill. It also reduces the use of new materials and saves energy, helping to tackle climate change.Recycling just one aluminium can saves enough energy…

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How can I save energy?

How can I save energy?

Being ‘energy efficient’ can make a significant difference to your energy bill. There are several actions you can take to reduce your energy use, none of which require a massive time or monetary investment. Take a look at our top tips to see if you are saving as much energy as you could be. Unplug any unused appliances – If your appliance has a standby light, an LED display or it is hot to the touch,…

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How do I choose a financial adviser?

How do I choose a financial adviser?

Looking for a financial adviser? Follow our guidelines to make sure you make a good choice. Making decisions about which supplier to use is never easy, so you may wish to consider the following advice when choosing your financial adviser: Review your current financial situation and make sure you know what you hope to achieve and how much you are willing to spend. Choose a financial adviser that specialises in the type and size of…

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How do I complain about a financial product or advice?

How do I complain about a financial product or advice?

If you are not satisfied with a financial product or advice you received from your bank, financial adviser or other financial institution, you should make a formal complaint in writing. If this avenue does not produce a satisfactory result, you can request the assistance of an external body to conduct an independent investigation or take legal action. What can you complain about? Whilst you can complain about most financial products and advice, there are some…

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How do I complain about a legal adviser?

How do I complain about a legal adviser?

If you are not entirely satisfied with the service you have received from a legal adviser, you can complain about it. You can make a complaint by using the firm’s complaints procedure. If this does not produce a satisfactory outcome, you can take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. What can you complain about? You can complain about an almost infinite number of issues. You may, for instance, have a problem with costs, delay or…

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How do I complain about a problem with a service?

How do I complain about a problem with a service?

If you pay a service to get something done, for example a lawyer when you buy a house or a repairman to fix your boiler, consumer law gives you certain rights through which you can complain if the service is not carried out satisfactorily. When should I complain about a service? If you think a service you have used has not been carried out with satisfactory care and skill then you it may be a…

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How do I complain about an estate agent?

How do I complain about an estate agent?

If you are not happy with how an estate agent has acted, there are two schemes that you can use to make a complaint. However, you are expected to complain directly to the estate agent prior to any complaint to either scheme to allow the agent to address and potentially rectify the problem themselves. The Property Ombudsman The first scheme you can use to complain against an estate agent is the Property Ombudsman. If you…

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How do I complain about misleading or offensive advertising?

How do I complain about misleading or offensive advertising?

When certain traders advertise goods or services, run sales promotions or carry out direct marketing, they must abide by codes of conduct. If you are of the opinion that an advert or promotion is misleading, harmful, offensive or dishonest, you can report the trader to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). What is the Advertising Standards Authority? The ASA is the independent regulator of advertising across all forms of media in the UK and is the…

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How do I complain if my child has been treated badly while in the care of the local authority?

How do I complain if my child has been treated badly while in the care of the local authority?

If your child is being looked after in care by a local authority (including being in care through a court order), and you are unhappy with their treatment you can formally complain. Minor problems or issues Not all problems that arise on a day to day basis should automatically be grounds for making a complaint. If a minor problem exists, the best thing to do is draw it to the attention of the social worker…

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How do I make complaint?

How do I make complaint?

Statutory rights When shopping for goods or services, it is helpful to have a basic understanding and appreciation of your ‘statutory rights’ – these are the rights you have by law, which a seller cannot change. The particulars of the laws applicable to you depend on what you are buying. However, for goods, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 requires them to be: Of satisfactory quality Sold as described Fit for purpose. Under the Supply…

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How do I Recycle batteries?

How do I Recycle batteries?

In the UK, only about three to five per cent of all household batteries are recycled. Many old batteries end up in landfill, where they can leak harmful chemicals into the soil. You can help tackle this problem by recycling your batteries. Where to recycle household batteries Most supermarkets and shops that sell batteries now have collection bins for used batteries. Some town halls, libraries or schools may also set upcollection points. Look out for…

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How do I return or cancel orders?

How do I return or cancel orders?

When you have ordered an item from home, you can cancel your order and get a refund under most circumstances. Read on to find out how. When your order arrives When to cancel How to cancel Refunds after cancelling When you can’t cancel When your order arrives You have the right to return or cancel your order for any reason. But there are some exceptions. If you don’t like the goods or have changed your…

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How do I use a guarantee?

How do I use a guarantee?

Guarantees give you additional rights which could be a useful back-up if you have cause to complain. Guarantees should be clear, unambiguous and available for you to see before you make a purchase. About guarantees Using guarantees Important points to remember Back to top About guarantees With some goods you may have a manufacturer’s guarantee. If there is a registration card that needs to be returned to the manufacturer, make sure that the seller has…

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How does the Sale of Goods Act 1979 protect me?

How does the Sale of Goods Act 1979 protect me?

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 is a key UK consumer law setting out the rules that retailers must abide by when selling products. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 contains important laws that consumers should be aware of when purchasing goods in the UK. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that when a purchase is made within the UK the seller and the buyer form a legally binding contract. The Act states that…

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I am having a dispute with a company or trader after complaining. What can I do?

I am having a dispute with a company or trader after complaining. What can I do?

If you have a complaint about a product you have bought or a service you have paid for and dealing directly with the trader has not produced a satisfactory outcome, you can enlist independent services to consider your problem with a view to finding a solution without going to court. This is called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). If you are contemplating taking legal action against a trader, the court will generally expect you to have…

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I am thinking about buying a timeshare. What are my rights?

I am thinking about buying a timeshare. What are my rights?

Be careful – some companies use dubious tactics to sell timeshare or membership of holiday clubs. For example, you may be offered a prize or a gift to persuade you to attend a presentation where you will be under a lot of pressure to sign on the spot. Unless you are seriously considering buying from the company concerned, do not go. If you sign a timeshare contract in the UK, you have a cooling-off period…

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I have been mis-sold PPI, what should I do?

I have been mis-sold PPI, what should I do?

What is PPI? Payment Protection Insurance, commonly referred to simply as PPI, is an insurance policy designed to cover particular debts should you be unable to pay for them as a result of sickness, injury or unemployment. PPI is a generic term used to discuss this type of policy, in reality each policy is likely to be different with some only covering for illness, and others covering a wide variety of circumstances. Like any insurance…

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I have bought a timeshare. What are my rights?

I have bought a timeshare. What are my rights?

What can you do if you have changed your mind after buying a timeshare, or if you’re not happy with what you’ve got? Read on to find out your rights. If you have signed a timeshare contract in the UK, you have a cooling-off period of 14 days in which you can cancel the contract (and any related credit agreement) at no cost and be refunded any money you have paid. The seller must not…

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I’m thinking about buying a computer. What are my consumer rights?

I’m thinking about buying a computer. What are my consumer rights?

When buying a computer, it’s important to decide what type of computer you need, whether you want extras like a printer, what support services will be provided if you get stuck, and what repair services will be included if things go wrong. See also Know your rights – Computers for information about your rights after you have bought a computer. Choosing a computer Where to buy Tips on buying your PC Printers Support services Service…

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I’m thinking of buying a car. What are my consumer rights?

I’m thinking of buying a car. What are my consumer rights?

There are thousands of new and second hand cars on the market, so choosing a car can be complicated. It makes sense to know how to choose a seller, your rights and what to do if things go wrong. Your rights when you buy a new or second hand car You have more rights if you buy a car from a dealer than if you buy from a private seller. The Sale of Goods Act…

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I’m thinking of buying an electrical and gas appliance. What are my consumer rights?

I’m thinking of buying an electrical and gas appliance. What are my consumer rights?

Thinking of buying an electrical item, or a gas appliance? Read on to find out all about buying, maintaining and fitting it. Your rights Important points to bear in mind If things go wrong Back to top Your rights If you buy an electrical or gas appliance, it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described. When an item doesn’t meet some or all of these conditions: If you have only…

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I’m thinking of buying goods overseas. What are my consumer rights?

I’m thinking of buying goods overseas. What are my consumer rights?

Thinking of buying something abroad? The Internet has made it much easier to buy from overseas, but make sure you are aware of the potential problems. This checklist will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of cross-border shopping. Things to consider Consider the following before you make an international purchase, whether you shopped on the Internet or by any other means: Will it work? Standards and systems vary between countries. Ask the supplier to…

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I’m thinking of opening a current account. What are my consumer rights?

I’m thinking of opening a current account. What are my consumer rights?

Current accounts can work best for you if you: Shop around Consider Switching Think about interest Think about charges There are different types of current account. A standard current account usually: Offers a debit card, which you can use to make payments or withdraw your money from a cash machine allows you to make direct debits, for example to pay your gas or electricity bill allows you to have a cheque book allows you to…

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I’ve bought a car. What are my consumer rights?

I’ve bought a car. What are my consumer rights?

So, you’ve bought a car, but there’s a problem. Here’s what you need to do next. If things go wrong If something goes wrong, go back to the dealer straight away, explain the problem and say what you want done. If the dealer is a member of a trade association that follows a code of practice, then visit www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk for advice and information on a whole range of motoring issues from new car codes, service…

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I’ve bought a computer. What are my rights?

I’ve bought a computer. What are my rights?

Computers are complex machines, and you may need technical support, repairs or even a replacement if things go wrong after your purchase. In many cases, the services you are entitled to will depend on the contract or warranty for your particular computer. See also If you’re thinking about computers for advice on choosing a computer. Things to remember Support services Service contracts If things go wrong Back to top Things to remember – If you…

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Independent complaints schemes and financial ombudsmen

Independent complaints schemes and financial ombudsmen

Independent complaints schemes aim to settle disputes about financial products or services impartially. Their services are free for consumers. You can normally only get help from one of these schemes if you haven’t been able to resolve the complaint using the firm’s internal complaints procedure. Before contacting an independent complaints scheme Remember, you first need to take up the complaint directly with the firm in question. See ‘How to complain about a financial product or…

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Internet auctions

Internet auctions

Online shopping Online health products Online supermarkets Placing an order Internet auctions Safe shopping Tips for buying online Internet auction is the term commonly used to describe any kind of website that allows people to sell a wide range of goods in a number of ways including through competitive bidding. They do not normally fulfil the functions of a live auctioneer, and therefore the legal obligations of an auctioneer are not likely to fall on…

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Internet, mail order and telephone shopping

Internet, mail order and telephone shopping

You have certain rights when you buy something online or by mail order, phone or television. Find out how these rights protect you if theres a problem with your order or you want to cancel because youve changed your mind. Your rights when you buy goods or services The law gives you rights when you buy goods or services without face-to-face contact. It covers: online shopping television shopping, eg from shopping channels mail order shopping,…

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Investment opportunities

Investment opportunities

The scam You get a phone call or email from someone you’ve never heard of offering you the chance to invest in supposedly high-value items such as fine wine, art or gemstones. The promise is that these will rocket in value. In reality, what you are being offered is often over-priced, very risky and difficult to sell on. In some cases, the goods may not even exist. The operators of these scams pose as experts…

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Is it a good idea to borrow money to buy something?

Is it a good idea to borrow money to buy something?

Credit or cash? We all know the advantages of using credit: If you need something urgently, you can get it right away You can spread the cost of something large over a period of time. The disadvantages are: In the long run it usually costs more – because you have to make repayments, and the total ends up being more than you borrowed If your circumstances change, for example you lose your job, you might…

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Know your financial rights

Know your financial rights

A firm selling financial products and services has to follow certain rules and standards laid down by the law and the relevant financial regulators. These are designed to protect consumer rights. If a firm doesn’t follow the rules, you can complain about them. Your rights are especially protected if you’ve taken financial advice. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) The FSA is the UK’s financialregulator set up by the government toregulate financial services in the UK…

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Landbanking fraud

Landbanking fraud

Land banking scams are a type of financial investment fraud which is conducted in the UK and which seems to be growing in popularity. Indeed, the Financial Conduct Authority estimates that around £200m has been lost by investors in land banking schemes. Land banking works by offering investors the chance to purchase a portion of a larger area of land alongside plots owned by other investors. The land banking company promises the investor that the…

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Life insurance: types and how to shop around

Life insurance: types and how to shop around

There are two main types of life insurance: term insurance and whole-of-life insurance. Term insurance (also called term assurance) pays out only if you die within an agreed term, and whole-of-life insurance pays out whenever you die. Some whole-of-life policies also contain an investment element to them, but such investment-type policies cost a lot more than protection-only insurance. Term insurance This is the simplest and cheapest type of life insurance, and is known as term…

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Lotteries

Lotteries

The scam Great news! You receive a letter, phone call, text message or email telling you that you've won a huge sum of money in a lottery – without even having entered. You just have to telephone an agent to make arrangements to receive your winnings. Once you contact the agent, you're told that, to claim your winnings, you just need to send money to cover 'processing' or 'administration' costs or taxes. You're told you…

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Managing Your Bills

Managing Your Bills

Pre-payment Paying less for your energy Paying your landlord for electricty or gas Reducing Your Gas and Electricity Bills Understanding energy contracts Energy Smart     Energy companies are under no legal requirement to produce bills at specific intervals. However, most consumers should receive bills from their supplier at quarterly intervals (whether they pay by monthly direct debit or quarterly standard credit). If you pay for your gas or electricity by prepayment meter you can…

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Miracle cures

Miracle cures

The scam You see an ad or website or you get a letter or email claiming that a product is a 'miracle cure', 'scientific breakthrough' or 'ancient remedy' that will cure a health problem such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, memory loss or insomnia. The seller will usually say there is only limited availability, and offer a 'no-risk, money-back guarantee'. Quotes from apparently satisfied customers or doctors are usually used. These claims are often exaggerated to…

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Mobile phones

Mobile phones

Thinking of buying a mobile phone? Whether it’s a contract or pay-as-you-go, our quick guide will help you avoid problems. Your rights If you are buying a mobile phone, it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described. When a mobile phone doesn’t meet some or all of these conditions, follow the advice below: If you have only had the phone a few weeks or haven’t had a reasonable opportunity to…

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More scams guidance

Online dating

Online dating

Online dating has exploded with more and more sites springing up all the time promising love and companionship for some, or easy no-strings sex for others. The rapid expansion in online dating has been accompanied by a huge rise in the number of people using dating ‘apps’ on smart phones to quickly sift through potential romances. However, what glitters is not always gold, and the online dating market is also riddled with con artists and…

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Online health products

Online health products

Online shopping Online health products Online supermarkets Placing an order Internet auctions Safe shopping Tips for buying online Do you buy health products online? If so you will appreciate the importance of genuine and accurate advertising about services and products. But beware – there are suppliers selling unproven and often potentially worthless health products. Know your rights If you buy health products online be aware of your rights. Remember you have the right to: a…

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Online shopping (before you buy)

Online shopping (before you buy)

Online shopping is quick and convenient – and it can be safe and secure, if you buy from a reputable site. Use our guide to get the best from internet shopping. See also our after you buy and Know your rights section by clicking on the links below if you have made a purchase and need some advice. Online health products Online supermarkets Placing an order Internet auctions Safe shopping Tips for buying online See…

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Online supermarkets

Online supermarkets

Online shopping Online health products Online supermarkets Placing an order Internet auctions Safe shopping Tips for buying online Buying from online supermarkets is not the same as going to a shop and picking out the goods yourself. Prices can vary, so keep track of what you have agreed to pay. In many cases the price you pay will be the in-store price on the day that your groceries are put together for delivery, which could…

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Opening and running a bank account

Opening and running a bank account

In order to open a bank account you’ll need to complete an application form and provide certain personal information. For some accounts you’ll also need to pay money in and the bank may want to check your credit history. Once the account’s open you can start managing your money. Opening a bank account In order to open a bank account you’ll usually be asked to: prove who you are prove where you live prove student…

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Package holidays

Package holidays

In the UK, most people who sell package holidays must comply with the Package Travel Regulations. These set out travel organisers’ responsibilities to their customers and what you can do if you are unhappy with your holiday. What is a package holiday? A package holiday includes at least two of the following: transport accommodation tourist services, such asa tour representative or day trips This type of holiday is booked in advance and is sold at…

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Pawn broking (before you pawn an item)

Pawn broking (before you pawn an item)

Thinking of using a pawnbroker to borrow money? Find out how it works, what you will have to pay, and what your rights are before you sign a credit agreement. About pawn broking You can go to a pawnbroker for a loan, but you will have to leave something valuable (the pawn) as security. You may have to pay more interest on the loan than you would to a bank or building society. The pawnbroker…

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Pay-in-advance credit

Pay-in-advance credit

The scam A company claims that you have 'pre-qualified' for a low-interest loan or credit card and are guaranteed to get it – even if you have a bad credit history. To take advantage of the offer, you just have to pay a processing fee. This fee is non-refundable and may amount to several hundred pounds. But you may think it is worthwhile because you are sure you are getting the loan or credit card…

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Phishing

Phishing

Phishing is a type of online criminal activity that has grown in popularity in recent years, as more and more online scammers try ever more inventive ways to con people out of personal information and sometimes money. The number of phishing attacks is probably on the increase. One annual survey estimated the prevalence of unique phishing attacks at more than 120,000 worldwide in the second half of 2012, up from just over 90,000 in the…

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Placing an order (buying at home)

Placing an order (buying at home)

If you're ordering a product from home, make sure you have shopped around for the best price, and made sure that the trader you are buying from is legitimate, before you pay for the goods. Before ordering Information the seller must give you Placing an order When your order arrives Back to top Before ordering Shop around. You might find that fantastic special deal on offer somewhere else and cheaper. Use retailers and services you…

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Placing an order (online shopping)

Placing an order (online shopping)

If you’re ordering a product from home, make sure you have shopped around for the best price, and made sure that the trader you are buying from is legitimate, before you pay for the goods. Before ordering Shop around. You might find that fantastic special deal on offer somewhere else and cheaper. Use retailers and services you know about or ones that have been personally recommended to you. Be wary of traders who use P.O….

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Premium-rate prize draws

Premium-rate prize draws

The scam A letter, email, phone call or text message promises you an exciting prize or reward. To claim it, all you have to do is phone a premium-rate number (beginning 090). However, the automated message you hear when you call tricks you into staying on the line for a long time. The longer you stay on the line, the more money the scammers make from you. And of course your prize or reward is…

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Prize draws and sweepstakes

Prize draws and sweepstakes

The scam You receive a notification by post, email, phone call or text message telling you that you've won a 'guaranteed' prize in a prize draw or sweepstake – without even having entered. You just have to pay a 'processing' or 'administration' fee, or order a product, to get your prize or collect your winnings. You're told you have to respond quickly to claim your prize or winnings. You may also be asked to call…

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Property rentals

Property rentals

The scam You're searching for a flat or house to rent, and see an ad that seems promising. You view the property, and it looks great – probably far better than you thought you'd get for the money. Before checking your references or agreeing to rent you the property, the landlord asks you to provide a deposit – usually a month's rent – and sign a short contract. The contract states that, if the references…

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Protect yourself from scams

Protect yourself from scams

Don’t let the scammers con you. Follow these tips to avoid getting tricked out of your money. Be sceptical First and foremost, remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to bin it, delete it or hang up. Take your time Resist pressure to make a decision right away. Consider asking a friend or family member for advice, or even an accountant or solicitor if big sums of…

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Pyramid selling

Pyramid selling

Pyramid selling schemes are a type of fraud that involves promising others future payment or services by enrolling them into a scheme that actually supplies little by the way of actual products or services. Although not always illegal as a business structure, many types of pyramid schemes are outlawed.  Pyramid selling often involves a business model or idea that relies on other becoming involved in the scheme in order for it to progress and for…

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Racing tipsters

Racing tipsters

The scam A professional-looking letter arrives promising you a series of horseracing tips guaranteed to make you a fortune. All you have to do is pay a fee, follow the tips and watch your winnings roll in. Usually, the letter will purport to be from a racing insider who, owing to his gambling success, has been banned from placing bets himself. You may be told the tipster service provides a very high ratio of winners…

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Repairing and servicing your car

Repairing and servicing your car

Regularly maintaining your car could save you money over time. More importantly, you will also be making sure your car is safe on the road. Find out how to choose a car mechanic and what to do if you have a problem. Your consumer rights Car mechanics are providing a service by carrying out repairs and supplying goods by fitting new parts. This means you are covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act…

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Safe shopping

Safe shopping

These days, you can pay for most goods and services online. Whether you are buying clothes or airplane tickets, you need to take care when shopping on the internet. This is a guide to staying safe when shopping online – using your computer, smartphone or tablet. Before getting online Firewall (computers) Before getting online, ensure the browser on your computer is up-to-date and its ‘firewall’ is activated.  A firewall acts as a safety barrier between…

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Scams

Scams

Overview Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They usually come by post, phone or email. Fake lotteries and prize draws, bogus psychic predictions, get-rich-quick investments and 'miracle' health cures are just some of the many tricks that scammers try. The tactics that these conmen use are so powerful that it can be difficult to say no. Every year, three million people fall victim, losing an average of £850 each, and sometimes…

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Service charges, tips, gratuities and cover charges

Service charges, tips, gratuities and cover charges

Its good practice for businesses to give their customers information about their tipping policy. Find out about service and cover charges, tips and gratuities in restaurants, casinos, hotels and other businesses. What are the different charges? There are several different types of ‘tips’, each charge has a slightly differentmeaning and way it is handled. Service charge The service charge is an amount added by a business to a bill. It is based on a percentage…

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Shares

Shares

The scam A stranger rings you out of the blue offering shares in a company you’ve probably never heard of. If you buy them, you may be left with worthless shares. You may also have no rights to complain or claim compensation from relevant UK schemes as most of these scams are run from overseas. Before you get the sales call, the scammers might first approach you by post or email, or you might see…

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Should you seek legal advice about product recalls?

Should you seek legal advice about product recalls?

When a product is faulty, manufacturers must make the difficult decision to recall them. Mass product recalls can result in huge financial losses to companies, as well as plenty of negative publicity, particularly as the recall will usually revolve around health and safety fears. If there were no laws in place regarding product quality, when a product is faulty, a company would weigh the negative impact of not recalling products with the cost associated with…

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Slimming

Slimming

The scam An email arrives promising a revolutionary pill, patch, cream or other product that will result in weight loss without diet or exercise. It directs you to look at a website that seems very convincing. Some products claim to block the absorption of fat, carbohydrates or calories. Many guarantee permanent weight loss and some suggest you'll lose lots of weight very quickly. There are inevitably testimonials from satisfied customers. This is a scam. There's…

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Switching energy suppliers – your rights

Switching energy suppliers – your rights

With energy suppliers, as with many service suppliers, it often pays for the customer to shop around and take advantage of any potentially cheaper deals available. Nearly all energy suppliers will publish their charges on their website and there are also customer help lines and contact email addresses should you have any specific cost queries. How much are you being charged? Before you consider switching energy suppliers you should make sure you are fully aware…

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Ticketing fraud

Ticketing fraud

Ticketing fraud is a type of scam whereby fraudsters use the internet or ticket sales phone numbers to dupe the public into buying tickets which either never arrive, or which later turn out to be fake. Ticketing fraud is on the increase, as the popularity of live shows increases and the number of websites and other portals for genuine ticket sales increases. The net effect of these factors is to make the public more trusting…

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Timeshare resale

Timeshare resale

Timeshare resale scams Timeshare property is a type of legal ownership model that allows individuals to club together to meet the purchase price of a holiday home, on the basis that the amount of time that can be spent at the property is divided between the various owners. Timeshare property is a popular and affordable way for people to invest in a holiday home. Timeshare property is often marketed by companies who sell the model…

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Timeshares – your rights

Timeshares – your rights

With timeshares you usually pay a lump sum upfront for the right to stay in the same standard of accommodation each year. Find out what to expect from your seller, what documents they should give you and your right to cancel. How timeshares work With timeshare, you buy a share in a property abroad for a set period of time each year. You usually pay a one-off lump sum for the number of weeks that…

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Tips for buying online

Tips for buying online

Online shopping Before you buy online, read our tips to make sure you are safe, secure and that you get the best price. Many tips on buying on the internet are the same as for buying from a shop, such as: Shop around. That great deal might well be on offer somewhere else – and cheaper. Use retailers and services you know about – or ones that have been personally recommended to you. But there…

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Types of bank account

Types of bank account

There are two types of bank account for managing everyday money: a basic bank account and a current account. Banks also offer a range of accounts designed for medium or longer-term savings. Savings or ‘term’ accounts usually pay more interest than current accounts. Basic bank accounts Basic bank accounts offer a convenient place to keep money you need for everyday use. You can arrange to have wages, State Pension and benefits or tax credits paid…

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Used car matching

Used car matching

The scam You want to sell your car and place an ad for it. Someone calls you claiming to have an immediate buyer. They may ask for an upfront fee of up to £100 for 'matching' you with the buyer. They say the fee is refundable if your car isn't sold. If you pay, in most cases the promised buyer never turns up, and neither does the promised refund. Thousands of people are caught by…

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Video: buyer beware – buying a used vehicle

What are ‘Codes of practice’?

What are ‘Codes of practice’?

Codes of practice are important because they help to ensure that you, the consumer, get a fair deal from a trustworthy business. On this page you will find out about the schemes in place throughout the UK. Trustmark Local authority assured trader schemes Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network Trustmark TrustMark is a scheme endorsed by the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skill supported by trade bodies and consumer groups to help people find reliable…

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What are hire purchase agreements?

What are hire purchase agreements?

Credit agreements come in many different forms, which afford you different rights if a problem arises with what you have bought. Credit issuers may not necessarily say upfront what type of credit agreement you are entering into with them, so you may be unaware of your legal rights. If you encounter a problem with something you have bought on credit, it is important to find out what kind of agreement you have before taking action….

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What are might consumer rights if I have used a pawnbroker?

What are might consumer rights if I have used a pawnbroker?

Are you having trouble paying a pawnbroker? Or perhaps you are dissatisfied with the amount that your item fetched? Find out what to do next. See also If you’re thinking about Pawn broking for advice if you’re thinking of using a pawn broker. After pawning an item If you cannot pay, or you lose your receipt If you are not satisfied with the price fetched What the courts can decide Back to top After pawning…

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What are my consumer rights after I buy a electrical or gas appliance?

What are my consumer rights after I buy a electrical or gas appliance?

If you’ve bought an electrical or gas appliance, and you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you may be entitled to a repair, a refund or a replacement. Your rights Important points to bear in mind If things go wrong Back to top Your rights If you have bought an electrical or gas appliance, it must be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described. When an item doesn’t meet some or all of…

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What are my consumer rights after purchasing clothes and/or shoes?

What are my consumer rights after purchasing clothes and/or shoes?

Consumer law is the law in the UK that protects buyers after they have purchased products. Consumer law is contained within several Acts of Parliament, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The Acts, along with several regulations and lots of case law, make up the body of consumer law in the UK, which can be used to protect you after you have purchased items such…

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What are my consumer rights before I buy products with extended warranties?

What are my consumer rights before I buy products with extended warranties?

What should you do if you have a problem with an extended warranty? Find out more about cancelling your agreement, getting your premium back, and exclusion clauses which may mean you’re not covered for what you thought. If you want to cancel Cashbacks Tips Exclusion clauses Extended warranties on domestic electrical goods Back to top If you want to cancel You may have rights to cancel your extended warranty if you choose to do so….

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What are my consumer rights if I buy something online?

What are my consumer rights if I make any purchases while abroad?

What are my consumer rights if I make any purchases while abroad?

What should you do if you have a problem with goods bought overseas? Read on to find out about the legal situation, who can help, and what you should do next. Who can help? Going to court Problems with online purchases Back to top Who can help? Generally, when making a cross-border complaint, you should first complain to the person you bought from. If you are still not happy after complaining to the trader, contact…

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What are my consumer rights when I go on holiday or travel?

What are my consumer rights when I go on holiday or travel?

If you have a problem after you have paid for your holiday, it’s important to know who to talk to, to get compensation or insurance. Make sure you complain straight away if your holiday did not live up to its description. See also If you’re thinking about Holidays for information on choosing your holiday. Package holidays Independent travellers Paying for your holiday Back to top Package holidays If you have a problem while you are…

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What are my consumer rights when paying for home improvements and building work?

What are my consumer rights when paying for home improvements and building work?

If you’re getting building work or home improvements done, it can be hard to know if the company or contractor is being reasonable in their charges and services. Follow our guide to make sure you get the results you want. Find a reputable tradesperson Agree things beforehand Payment Back to top Find a reputable tradesperson Trustmark and the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network can help you find reputable and reliable tradespersons. Back to top…

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What are my consumer rights?

What are my consumer rights?

Whenever you purchase goods, you have entered into a legally binding agreement – a contract – with the seller of the goods. Your contract is governed by the Sale of Goods Act (SGA) 1979, which sets strict rules for sellers to abide by. What can you expect from your goods under the Sale of Goods Act? Under the SGA, your goods must be: Sold as described: for example, if the label on a suit says…

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What are my rights if an airline or travel company goes bust?

What are my rights if an airline or travel company goes bust?

If your airline or travel company goes bust, it is vital to find out if your holiday booking is protected and whether you will be able to get your money back. This guide will deal with a number of different scenarios, from package holidays booked through a travel agent to flights booked directly with an airline.  Package holidays booked through a travel agent A package holiday is a holiday that consists of two or more…

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What are my rights if I buy on credit?

What are my rights if I buy on credit?

If you pay for something using credit (such as a credit agreement or credit card), the Consumer Credit Act 1974 gives you rights against the credit card company if: you don’t receive something you’ve ordered (if you brought something over the phone or the internet, for example); or the goods are faulty. This law applies only for things costing between £100 and £30,000. However, you do not have to have paid the whole cost with…

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What are my rights if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

What are my rights if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

Throughout the year many thousands of people will have the misfortune of having their flight delayed or cancelled. Although there is little that can be done to prevent this, as a consumer you do have rights and, provided that the cancellation or delay is the fault of the airline, you may well be able to claim compensation. Although many people are unaware of their rights (people have been used to accepting delays as the norm…

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What are my rights when buying on credit?

What are my rights when buying on credit?

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 concerns products bought on credit or hire agreements. In practice, therefore, if you have purchased goods or a service with a credit card, and those goods have been misrepresented to you, or the supplier is in breach of the contract (you have paid for the goods but they were not supplied), you will have a claim against the credit card company as well as the supplier. The…

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What are my rights when I have bought something on credit?

What are my rights when I have bought something on credit?

If a consumer purchases an item that later turns out to be faulty, or books a holiday and the travel company falls into liquidation, they still have rights if they made the purchases using a credit facility, such as a credit card. In these circumstances, a consumer can exercise their right to a refund despite being rejected by the retailer or service provider. This is because English law – through the principle of joint liability…

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What are my rights when I use a funeral director?

What are my rights when I use a funeral director?

Remember, you have certain rights as a consumer that apply when you engage the services of a funeral director. Services you have purchased should be provided with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time and, where no price is agreed, cost no more than a reasonable charge in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Any goods you purchase from your funeral director including, for example any coffin, flowers or memorial, must be of satisfactory quality,…

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What are my rights when people sell on my doorstep?

What are my rights when people sell on my doorstep?

Doorstep selling has almost certainly lost much of its popularity with the advent of the internet and the popularity of online shopping; however, there are still many companies that engage in the practice, and doorstep selling remains a source of concern for many consumers. There are many reasons why doorstep selling has a difficult reputation, not least because of the practice of a minority of rogue doorstep sellers who use the transient nature of the…

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What are my rights when purchasing goods and services online?

What are my rights when purchasing goods and services online?

If you have bought online from a UK-based company, many of your rights are the same as when you buy from a shop. You also have additional rights. Rread on to find out more. What you are entitled to Credit card purchases Internet auctions Online health products If things go wrong What you are entitled to Clear information about the goods or services offered before you buy. Written confirmation of this information after you have…

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What are the dangers of buying online?

What are the dangers of buying online?

Buying online can be fast and convenient, and can enable the tenacious shopper to find some excellent bargains. Unfortunately, though, the internet also provides plenty of opportunity to scammers, hackers and thieves. Here’s a summary of some of the main risks an online shopper faces, and some ideas as to how to minimise them. 1. Security / information theft People who are wary of buying online frequently say that their main worry is that credit…

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What are the differences between credit cards and store cards?

What are the differences between credit cards and store cards?

Credit cards, charge cards and store cards all work very differently. This guide will explain the main differences between them. How do credit cards work? A credit card allows you to spend money on credit up to your credit limit. To avoid paying interest on what you spend, it is good practice to settle your credit card bill every month. Otherwise, you could face high interest rates, which are backdated. If you make a purchase…

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What are the differences between debit cards and credit cards?

What are the differences between debit cards and credit cards?

There are some important differences between how a debit card and a credit card operate. When you are considering your financing options, it is important to know how suitable each card is for the particular purchase you have in mind. How does your debit card work? When you use your debit card, any money you spend is automatically deducted from your current account, which is linked to your debit card. For this reason, you must…

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What are the pros and cons of buying on credit?

What are the pros and cons of buying on credit?

If you buy something on credit it means you are essentially borrowing money in order to make your purchase. Many people buy more expensive items such as cars or appliances on credit. However, it is worth considering whether buying on credit is the best option for you. What are the advantages of buying on credit? Easier to make purchases – by using a credit card you can make expensive purchases without carrying large amount of…

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What are unfair terms in contracts?

What are unfair terms in contracts?

Occasionally, the law regards standard terms and conditions – that a trader applies to all customers – as unfair. This guide will help you to identify an unfair contract term, since you are not legally bound by it. What is an unfair contract term? The law governing unfair contract terms is the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Typically, standard contract terms are unfair when they: put a trader at an unfair advantage over…

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What can do when a company has gone into administration?

What can do when a company has gone into administration?

Unfortunately, due to the current financial climate, more and more companies are going out of business, and this can leave many of us high and dry, with little or no form of redress when things have gone wrong. There are a few steps that we can take to try to resolve outstanding issues: Find out whether an administrator has been appointed – details can often be found on the company’s website, or in the press….

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What can I do about bogus callers?

What can I do about bogus callers?

Bogus callers, who may be any age and appearance, male or female, aim to trick or worry you into leaving your house or into letting them in, by making up stories. Tips on stopping bogus callers Bogus callers may pose as water, electricity or gas-board workers, council workers or police officers; so they can steal money or property from your home. You can prevent this type of crime if you take precautions. To reduce the…

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What can I do about nuisance claims management cold calls and texts?

What can I do about nuisance claims management cold calls and texts?

Cold calling has seen a renaissance in recent years, with more and more companies trying cold calling as a sales technique and homeowners and tenants becoming ever more frustrated with the tactics of claims management and sales companies. The misselling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) has created a multi-million pound industry in the management of claims against the major banks for mis-sold insurance. Claims companies make a margin on the value of successful claims made…

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What can I do if something is wrong with the food I have bought from a restaurant?

What can I do if something is wrong with the food I have bought from a restaurant?

If you eat in a restaurant you have certain rights over the food you receive if it is not safe or it is of poor quality How do I know if my food is unsafe or of poor quality? When you receive your food, it may be not cooked properly, it may be mouldy or it may be contaminated in some way. For example: you may find your food cold or frozen when it should…

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What can I do if there is a problem with furniture I have bought?

What can I do if there is a problem with furniture I have bought?

If you’re not satisified with a piece of furniture that you have bought, you have certain rights. If the furniture does not meet certain conditions, you may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. Your rights Important points to bear in mind If things go wrong The Furniture Ombudsman – Furnishing Standards Back to top Your rights Furniture must be of satisfactory quality, fit for its purpose and as described. When furniture doesn’t meet…

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What can I do if there is a problem with furniture I have bought?

What can I do if there is a problem with furniture I have bought?

When you buy furniture, you can be confronted with a whole range of problems. You may have placed an order for delivery, which may arrive late. Or your furniture may be faulty, arrive in a damaged condition or it may not be the item(s) you originally ordered. This guide will inform you about the kind of problems you may experience when you buy furniture and where you can get help.   Furniture must match its…

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What can I do to make greener choices about food and drink?

What can I do to make greener choices about food and drink?

There are many ways you can be more environmentally friendly when you buy food or drink. Below you will find some advice on ways you can look after the environment when you buy food and drink. Buy local One way you can help the environment is through buying your groceries locally. If your food has been produced locally it means it did not have to be transported so far, which in turn means less fuel…

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What consumer protection organisation are there around the world?

What consumer protection organisation are there around the world?

The Office of Fair Trading has a number of international partners. ECA – European Competition Authorities ICN – International Competition Network ICPEN – International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network OECD – Consumer Policy Committee OECD – Competition Law and Policy Committee ECA – European Competition Authorities The ECA was founded in 2001 as a forum for discussion for the competition authorities in the European Economic Area. The ECA is an informal association whose aim is…

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What do I nedd to know about identity theft and passwords?

What do I nedd to know about identity theft and passwords?

Identity fraud has experienced a huge increase in the last decade across many countries of the world. Identity fraud occurs when an individual obtains or steals your personal information and then pretends to be you, usually for the purpose of racking up credit card bills. The most common method of identity theft is for an individual to obtain somebody’s details over the internet. With the increased use of the internet over the past decade, millions…

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What do I need to know about arranging a Funeral?

What do I need to know about arranging a Funeral?

A funeral is a purchase that is often made at a very difficult time, so it is worth knowing what you should expect. Choosing a funeral The main legal requirements in England and Wales are: the death has to be certified by a doctor or coroner; the death is registered with a Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths; the body should either be cremated or buried.   There are many different types of funeral and…

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What do I need to know about buying tickets and the law?

What do I need to know about buying tickets and the law?

Extra charges, cancellation rights, seat types – buying a ticket can be more complicated than you think. Find out all you need to make an informed purchase by reading our quick guide below. Making an informed choice When buying a ticket it is important to be clear what you are being sold and that you have enough information to make an informed choice. Do you know: what type of seat/ticket you are buying? if the…

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What do I need to know about community energy schemes?

What do I need to know about community energy schemes?

There are a number of schemes a community can use to manage, generate, buy and reduce energy and currently there are at least 5000 community groups involved in energy projects. Below you will find a list of community schemes your community group may be able to use to improve you energy situation. Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) Scheme The FITs scheme is designed to help a community to use low-carbon electricity generators on a small scale. If…

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What do I need to know about composting?

What do I need to know about composting?

What is composting? Composting is the process of turning organic material into compost. Composting occurs when the organic material decays and becomes a soil-like substance that can be used on soil to add extra nutrients to help plants grow. Composting occurs naturally whenever any organic material falls to the ground and occurs because microorganisms feed to the material. However, you can also create your own compost piles to use on your plants instead of waiting…

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What do I need to know about cookie tracking?

What do I need to know about cookie tracking?

Rather than being a chocolate biscuit snack used as a treat for kids, the word cookie in regard to the internet has a whole new and significantly less tasty meaning. A cookie is a file placed onto a website by the site’s operator in order to collect and store information about individual internet users visiting the site. This is not as worrying as it might at first appear as often this information is simply used…

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What do I need to know about doorstep sellers?

What do I need to know about doorstep sellers?

Many traders who call at your door are honest and genuine. However, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. Examples of bad practices associated with cold calling and doorstep selling include pressure selling, unfair contracts, overpriced or substandard home maintenance or improvements, phoney consumer surveys and bogus charity collections. What reputable callers should do Reputable callers should: Present personal identification and identify who they represent. Make it clear from the outset if they are…

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What do I need to know about emails and privacy?

What do I need to know about emails and privacy?

Email-related privacy issues usually fall into one of three categories: use of personal data; monitoring; security. Use of personal email data Your emails contain a treasure trove of personal information about you. Under the Data Protection Act 1998, anyone collecting this data is required to tell you how it will be used and to use it only for that purpose. If you know an organisation holds personal data about you, you can require they reveal…

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What do I need to know about energy efficiency grants?

What do I need to know about energy efficiency grants?

You may be able to get energy efficiency grants and offers to help you make energy saving improvements to your home. These grants and offers come from government, your local council or your energy supplier. Who is eligible If you get a disability or income-related benefit, you may be able to get a government Warm Front Grant. This is to help pay for heating and insulation improvements to your home. Heating and insulation improvements from…

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What do I need to know about energy labels?

What do I need to know about energy labels?

The energy labels shown here focus on products which make the best use of energy, and so perform well while saving on running costs and helping the environment. Reducing your energy use helps tackle climate change. European energy label All European manufacturers and retailers must tell you about the energy efficiency of household electrical fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, washer-dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, ovens and light bulbs. Products are generally rated from A to…

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What do I need to know about energy saving light bulbs?

What do I need to know about energy saving light bulbs?

One of the ways you can save energy in your home is to use energy saving light bulbs. These can last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs and can save you money on your electricity bills. Find out how these bulbs work and how to recycle them. Whats wrong with traditional light bulbs? Traditional light bulbs, which haven’t changed for over a hundred years,are very inefficient at converting electricity to light. They waste…

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What do I need to know about European Ecolabels?

What do I need to know about European Ecolabels?

What is the European Union Ecolabel? The European Union (EU) Ecolabel is a voluntary label promoting international environmental excellence, which spans a number of product and service sectors. What does the Ecolabel look like and what does it mean? The Ecolabel is a flower logo, which helps you to know which products and services have a lower environmental impact than equivalent brands over the course of their full lifecycle – from the extraction of raw…

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What do I need to know about european Ecolabels?

What do I need to know about european Ecolabels?

The European Ecolabel helps you choose items that throughout their lifetime are less harmful to the environment than other similar products. You can find the label on products from household cleaners to televisions, as well as services like holiday accommodation. What is the European Ecolabel? The European Ecolabel is also known as the EU Ecolabel or the ‘Flower’. It is used throughout Europe, and is awarded toproducts and services that are kinder to the environment…

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What do I need to know about Fairtrade labels?

What do I need to know about Fairtrade labels?

There are a number of labels that focus on improving people’s lives, often in poorer countries. Two of the most popular are the Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance labels. Both show the item has been produced without treating people unfairly and without damaging the environment. The FAIRTRADE Mark The Fairtrade Foundation gives its FAIRTRADE Mark to products if they meet their international Fairtrade standards. These standards demand that a product is made, bought and sold…

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What do I need to know about feed-in tariffs?

What do I need to know about feed-in tariffs?

Feed-in tariffs are a form of government policy designed to reward those who generate electricity by environmentally friendly means, by paying them a fee against the amount of electricity they produce. Feed-in tariffs operate in countries around the world. In the UK the policy creating feed-in tariffs was included in the Energy Act 2008. This created the legislative framework to allow the Government to implement a scheme, the details of which were included in the…

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What do I need to know about film classification and the law?

What do I need to know about film classification and the law?

Film classifications were introduced in order to give guidance to parents as to the nature of the content of a certain film. Film classifications have not merely been used to advise parents and protect children over the years, but have also been a way of informing the public in general and indeed a way of banning certain films from being shown at all. Types of classification There are six different types of film classification currently…

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What do I need to know about food labels and the environment?

What do I need to know about food labels and the environment?

Producing food can sometimes have a harmful effect on the environment, adding to problems like water pollution or falling numbers of fish in the oceans. Labels like LEAF and MSC can help you choose foods produced with consideration for wildlife and the environment. Date labels for food Food packaging should carry either a ‘use-by’ or ‘best-before’ date: ‘use-by’ dates should appear on foods such as soft cheese, ready-prepared meals and smoked fish where food could…

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What do I need to know about green labels?

What do I need to know about green labels?

What are ‘green’ labels? People are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and supportive of businesses whose products and services are kind to the environment. Environmental labels, also widely known as ‘green’ labels, provide you with valuable information about the environmental characteristics of products and services – their environmental impact. This information will help you to make informed decisions regarding your purchasing options. Why do businesses use green labels? Businesses use green labels for a number of…

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What do I need to know about green labels?

What do I need to know about green labels?

Green labels can help you choose products that are less harmful to the environment or are made in a way that treats people more fairly. Find out the difference between a green label and a green claim and learn what to do if either are misleading or untrue. What is a green label? An environmental or’green’ label shows that a product is less damaging to the environment or to the people making it than other…

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What do I need to know about home energy grants?

What do I need to know about home energy grants?

The nationwide microgeneration grant scheme has now closed. However, there may be local grants available in your area. You can also sell any green electricity you produce using Feed-in Tariffs, and save money by taking energy efficiency measures. What is microgeneration? Microgeneration means when individuals, businesses and communities generate heat and power to meet their own needs. Microgeneration systems use renewable resources, like the wind, the sun and water, to create energy. The microgeneration grant…

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What do I need to know about labelling?

What do I need to know about labelling?

Is there certain information that must be shown on a product label? There is no general duty to show certain information on the label of every product. However: Retailers must show prices and quantities Manufacturers of potentially dangerous products must include safety information Special rules apply to manufacturers, distributors and retailers of food, children’s products, footwear and precious metals. How accurate must the product label information be? It is an offence for any information displayed…

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What do I need to know about organic labels?

What do I need to know about organic labels?

Organic labels can be used on all sorts of products, from food to clothing. They show that fewer artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides have been used to produce an item. The two most commonly seen labels in the UK are the Soil Association and Organic Farmers and Growers. Organic food labels What does ‘organic’ mean? The use of the word organic is controlled by law in the UK. It can only be used on food…

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What do I need to know about paint and textiles labels?

What do I need to know about paint and textiles labels?

When youre buying paint or textiles, there are two green labels that can help you make a more environmentally friendly choice. The VOC label (paint) and the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label (textiles) both tell you about harmful substances in a product. Paint: VOC Labels Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in most paints, varnishes, woodstains and primers. VOCs cause air pollution and may be harmful to human health, animals and plants. The European Union (EU)…

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What do I need to know about recycling and packaging labels?

What do I need to know about recycling and packaging labels?

Some labels show you that an item is made from recycled material or that it can be recycled when you have finished with it. Recycling your waste and buying recycled products helps to preserve resources and save energy. On-Pack Recycling Label The On-Pack Recycling Label tells you whatdifferent parts of a product are made of and whether you can recycle them. The label lists three possibilities for recycling: widely recycled 65 per cent of local…

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What do I need to know about vehicle labels?

What do I need to know about vehicle labels?

The UK Fuel Economy Label lets you compare the carbon emissions, fuel costs and vehicle tax for different cars. Using it can help you choose a vehicle that gives off fewer emissions and is more fuel efficient. You can find it on both new and used cars. The UK Fuel Economy Label for new cars This pictureshows an example of the UK Fuel Economy Label for new cars. This label should be displayed on all…

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What do I need to know about wood labels?

What do I need to know about wood labels?

Wood and wood products made from sustainable sources are readily available in the UK. You can use wood labels to make sure the products you buy come from legal, well-managed forests. The different wood labelling schemes There are several different certification schemes. The two most common are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC). Forest Stewardship Council The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label is used on products…

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What does the law say an internet service provider must do?

What does the law say an internet service provider must do?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 will change the rules regarding the supply of goods, services and digital content. The Act, which comes into force on 1 October 2015, will introduce a single body of legislation, which applies to all contracts where goods are supplied including (but not limited to) sale, hire, hire-purchase and work and materials contracts. In addition, the Act will set out specific rules relating to digital content, therefore the supply of services…

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What does the law says a retailer must do about faulty goods?

What does the law says a retailer must do about faulty goods?

Have you been supplied faulty goods? Find out what the retailer is legally obliged to do about it. Which law governs your contract for the sale of goods? When a person buys goods, they enter into a legally binding agreement with the seller – a ‘contract’ – which is controlled by the Sale of Goods Act (SGA) 1979. The SGA affords buyers certain rights under the contract (occasionally called ‘statutory rights’). What are your statutory…

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What help can I get from the Financial Services Authority?

What help can I get from the Financial Services Authority?

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the UK’s financial watchdog, set up by the government to regulate financial services and protect the rights of consumers. The FSA provide clear, impartial information on their website about financial products and services to help make money matters clearer. Their website also contains some useful tools which can help you with budgeting, borrowing, planning for the future and shopping around for financial products. You can visit their site by…

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What if a product hurts someone or damages something?

What if I buy by phone or mail order, or over the internet?

What if I buy by phone or mail order, or over the internet?

Any time a trader sells something online, by phone or via mail order it is called distance selling. Distance selling has a different set of rights compared to those you have when you make a purchase in shop or face-to-face with the trader. You have these extra rights because distance selling means you are unable to see the goods or service before you buy them. These rights are part of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation…

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What if something is wrong with the food I have bought from a supermarket?

What if something is wrong with the food I have bought from a supermarket?

Currently, the law says any food you buy from a supermarket must be safe and of satisfactory quality. If you have purchased food from a supermarket and it appears out-of-date, mouldy or contaminated in some way, then you have certain rights. How would I know the food I have bought is unsafe or of satisfactory quality? A food can be considered unsafe if it is damaging to your health. For example: if the food you…

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What impact did the Energy Act 2008 have on consumers?

What impact did the Energy Act 2008 have on consumers?

The introduction of the Energy Act 2008 followed a government consultation into whether the UK was reaching its energy goals in relation to both climate change and security of energy supplies. The initial proposals were not without controversy, with the consultation reaching the conclusion that the UK’s energy supplies could not be met by renewable energy alone and that nuclear power would be necessary. The Act itself is divided into six parts: Gas importation and…

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What is ‘product recall’?

What is ‘product recall’?

A product recall is a set of instructions issued to consumers to return a product, a batch of products or a complete production run of a product to the manufacturer or retailer. This is ordinarily due to the finding of a product defect, a public health and safety issue or both. Why do companies recall products? Companies recall products in order to limit their exposure to corporate negligence liability, which can result in costly legal…

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What is ‘Trading Standards’?

What is ‘Trading Standards’?

If you think a trader has acted unfairly towards you or even broken the law, you may be able to stop them. Depending on the nature of the trader’s actions or omissions, you may be able to report them to Trading Standards. Trading Standards is responsible for protecting you from rogue traders and other traders who have acted unfairly. Services offered by Trading Standards are not uniform – they vary depending on where you live….

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What is Climate Change?

What is Climate Change?

What is Climate Change?

What is climate change? While some scientists dispute that global warming exists at all, climate change is nonetheless defined as a large-scale, long-term increase in the earth’s average temperature and change in its weather patterns. What is the evidence in support of climate change? The main evidence that points to climate change includes: Higher average temperatures – Climate scientists have produced research, which shows that the climate – the average temperature of the earth’s surface –…

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What is Ofgem and what do they do?

What is Ofgem and what do they do?

Ofgem stands for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets and it is the government department given the task of regulating the gas and electricity markets. Ofgem’s key concerns and priorities therefore involve protecting consumers by ensuring that they are not being taken advantage of by energy suppliers. It will also attempt to ensure that a certain amount of the profits made by the energy companies will pay for the safe supply of energy and…

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What is PPI and how can I stop people calling me about it?

What is PPI and how can I stop people calling me about it?

What is PPI? ‘PPI’, or Payment Protection Insurance, is an insurance policy that covers loan and credit card repayments in the event of the borrower being unable to earn a living to repay the debt – such as death, illness, disability or unemployment. What is the PPI scam? Most claims management practices are genuine. However, some are illegitimate and include: unsolicited contact, such as ‘cold-calling’, automated calls and ‘spam texts’, which enter unsuspecting people into…

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What is speculative invoicing and what can I do about it?

What is speculative invoicing and what can I do about it?

What is speculative invoicing and what can I do about it?

Speculative invoicing has been known to occur when a film or song has been illegally downloaded from the internet. Some solicitor firms have been sending out invoices to internet provider subscribers suspected of downloading a film or song illegally, despite a lack of evidence that the subscriber is liable for the illegal download. The invoice usually will be written in a way that pressures the recipient to pay in order to avoid court. In the invoice you may…

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What is the difference between goods and services?

What is the difference between goods and services?

Consumer law is an area of law designed to protect people who buy products and services. Consumer law provides a legal framework for consumers to bring complaints against companies who trade in faulty goods or services. The result of which often allowing the customer the right to a replacement, a repair, or even compensation. Consumer law covers a wide variety of everyday transactions including: the purchase of a car, home improvements and broadband contracts. In…

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What is ticket touting?

What is ticket touting?

A ticket tout is someone who resells tickets for admission to events at more than their face value. They often work outside sporting events and concerts, either with unsold tickets that they try to resell at a profit; with no tickets in the hope that they can buy spare tickets from fans at, or below, face value to sell on at inflated prices; or with counterfeit tickets. Tickets may also be resold on online auctioning…

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What organisations can I contact when I want to complain?

What organisations can I contact when I want to complain?

Consumer Focus Consumer Focus was created through the merger of three consumer organisations – energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (including the Welsh and Scottish Consumer Councils). The new approach allows for more joined-up consumer advocacy, with a single organisation speaking with a powerful voice and able to more readily bring cross-sector expertise to issues of consumer concern. More information is available at www.consumerfocus.org.uk Citizens advice bureau Help on a variety of problems including…

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What Problems can I have if I buy someone online from the UK?

What Problems can I have if I buy someone online from the UK?

If something goes wrong when buying over the internet from a company in the UK you have the same rights as when buying by telephone, mail order or any other method of distance shopping. This page gives you a guide on how to complain, who can help, taking it further and going to court. How to complain Who can help? Back to top How to complain with details of your complaint, and give them a…

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What problems can occur when hiring an estate agent?

What problems can occur when hiring an estate agent?

According to research conducted by Opinium, 60 per cent of buyers and sellers have experienced problems with their estate agent (August 2014). To avoid having problems with an estate agent, there are several steps that should be taken: Preliminary estate agent checks The estate agent should be: reputable accredited – either a member of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) or the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) registered with the Estate Agents Redress Scheme via TPO….

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What problems can occur with overseas sellers?

What problems can occur with overseas sellers?

There are international bodies that could become involved if you have a problem when buying from abroad. Please let them know if you do have a complaint – it might also help other people in the future. European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) ECC-Net is a network of 27 European Consumer Centres in all 25 Member States, Iceland and Norway. The Centres work together to keep EU citizens informed of their consumer rights when shopping cross…

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What rights do I have after I buy tickets?

What rights do I have after I buy tickets?

Are you unhappy with your ticket purchase, or in need of a refund? Find out what you are entitled to after you have bought a ticket. Your rights Ticket sellers are legally required to: provide price information in advertising that does not, or is not likely to, mislead provide clear, honest and unambiguous price information at the point of purchase confirm seat location despatch tickets in time to attend an event refund all monies paid…

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What rights do I have over photos I publish online?

What rights do I have over photos I publish online?

The abundance of social networking sites have enabled people to publish and share photos online with whomever they want; however, the existence of these sites also means that it is a lot easier for such photos to now be copied and misused. Who actually owns the rights to your photos once you upload them onto social networks; and are you at risk of seeing them all over the internet and elsewhere? What are your rights?…

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Where can I get more information on consumer protection?

Where can I get more information on consumer protection?

Your local trading standards department is listed in the phone book, either under ‘trading standards’ or in the listings for your local council. You can also find trading standards and general consumer information and advice at their website. Useful phone numbers Consumer Direct phone: 08454 04 05 06, 8am to 6:30pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday. The Office of Fair Trading phone:0845 7224 499 Chartered Institute of Arbitrators phone: 020 7421 7444 British and Irish…

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Where do I go to find out about scams and phishing?

Where do I go to find out about scams and phishing?

Consumer scams come in all shapes and sizes. Some ensnare thousands of people, others one or two. Some are delivered via the post or email, others by telephone or in person. They aren’t always obvious, but the objective is always the same: to con you out of money. Identity theft and phishing scams in particular are on the increase. A criminal will send you an email pretending to come from a genuine company operating on…

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Who sells tickets to events?

Who sells tickets to events?

The following gives an overview of the different groups that are involved in the sale and distribution of event tickets. Additional groups are involved in the sale of sporting and special event tickets. Event promoters negotiate with artists’ agents for their appearance, hire venues, determine the face value of tickets and their allocation between the venue box office and ticket agents Promoters run the advertising and marketing of the event. Both concert venues and theatres…

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Wht do I need to know about online protection?

Wht do I need to know about online protection?

It’s important to know how the law protects you when you go about your daily life online. For many people, the internet is an integral part of their daily lives. They conduct business, do their shopping, carry out banking and other financial activities, participate in educational activities and socialise online. In most circumstances, the internet is a safe and effective tool. It is, however, sensible to be aware of the risks that the online world…

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Work-from-home

Work-from-home

Working from home has seen a huge increase in recent years as more and more people take advantage of modern technology. Working from home can have many benefits both to employees and employers alike. Working from home self-employment has also seen and increase, with many wanting the flexibility of working for themselves. It is for these reasons that work at home scams have an appeal. Work at home scams offer the opportunity for individuals to…

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