Consumers warned not to fall for rogue traders when Christmas shopping

Fears about stock shortages and Brexit-related delivery will be exploited, says CCPC

‘Demand for certain products growing, which can lead to pressures on parents and families’. Photograph: iStock

‘Demand for certain products growing, which can lead to pressures on parents and families’. Photograph: iStock

 

Irish consumers have been warned that rogue traders and scam artists will attempt to exploit people’s fears over stock shortages and Brexit-related delivery issues in the run-up to Christmas by trying to sell counterfeit goods or products that don’t even exist.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said it was aware that consumers may be afraid that Covid-19 and Brexit-related shipping delays and stock shortages will hit heir Christmas shopping plans and make unwise shopping decisions as a result.

The Commission pointed out that when there is high consumer demand for certain products or services” ill-intentioned traders [will try] to take advantage”.

With Christmas shopping starting earlier this year as fears of of shortages of every thing from toys and electronics to clothes and books mount, the CCPC warned consumers to be “particularly wary of traders offering popular Christmas high-demand goods for sale”.

It has urged people to buy from reputable retailers and to check reviews and social media pages.

For the first Christmas since the birth of online shopping more than two decades ago, British-based retailers will not be able to ship to Ireland under an EU umbrella which will mean added costs and fewer rights for Irish shoppers spending their money virtually in Britain.

As a result the CCPC said it was more important than ever to check where businesses are based. “If the business is based outside of the EU, you may consider finding an alternative EU store to ensure you have stronger rights should an issue arise,” the Commission said.

It also warned shoppers to be wary of sites selling products that can’t be found on any other sites and reminded people that if a deal looks too good to be true, “more often than not, it probably is”.

Other red flags should be exclusively five-star reviews, poor English on websites and traders who offer a bank transfer facilities rather than credit or debit card payments.

The CCPC director of communications Gráinne Griffin said high levels of online shopping are likely to continue in the build-up to Christmas 2021.

“Generally at this time of year we begin to see demand for certain products growing, which can lead to pressures on parents and families,” she said.

“This year we know that consumers have additional concerns regarding shipping and possible stock shortages. It’s important for everyone to be aware that these are ideal circumstances for ill-intentioned or rogue traders, online and instore including pop up shops, to take advantage of consumers who are having trouble sourcing a particular product or toy.”