Last Minute Christmas Shopping Tips
Consumers hold the most powerful weapon on earth: the almighty dollar. How
and where they choose to spend it and what they spend it on, shapes the
marketplace. The effective consumer is one who takes this responsibility
By knowing their rights and what the law states, helps put the consumer in a
stronger position when buying goods. Every time you buy goods you enter into a
contract with the person selling the goods. The most important obligations the
trader owes to the consumer are contained in the Sale of Goods Act 2002 (as
amended). The obligations are:
• The goods must be of satisfactory quality, be safe and free from defect
• The goods must be as described. If the label states 100% cotton, then it
should not be made of polyester.
• The goods must be fit for their purpose. They should work for a
reasonable amount of time.
If the goods do not meet those criteria, the consumer may be entitled to a refund.
So this Christmas, here are ten invaluable last minute tips to assist consumers in
making the right choices for the people on their Christmas list.
1) Organize your list. It is a good idea to have 2 or 3 gift ideas in mind for
each person on your list in the event that your first choice is not available,
then you have at least another idea to choose from.
2) Research the product (s) you are going to buy. Shop around for the best
deal and inspect the product carefully before you buy it.
3) Avoid pressure shopping. Don’t be persuaded to buy a product if it is
not what you really want.
4) Be careful buying from stores or vendors that are only around for the
holiday season. If you do, make sure you have a contact number in case
you have to return the product because it is defective. Ask what their
return policy is.
5) Be cautions about buying gifts on sale as it can cause problems
for the recipient if they need to return it. Ask if the store gives out gift
6) Ask about the store’s return/refund policy before you buy. Some stores
have the policy displayed on the receipt. Others have them posted near
or on the cash register. Whatever the policy is, it is your responsibility to
ask. Also ask about the time limit for returns and exchanges.
7) Check out the warranties on appliances, electronic and other such gifts.
Keep the packaging until the return policy lapses or the store’s warranty
has expired. This is especially required for small appliances and
electronic items. The packaging makes it easier to prove where you
bought the item.
8) If you are buying a gift certificate, make sure you ask about the expiry
date. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of use.
9) KEEP ALL RECEIPTS. This will save less hassle for you or the recipient
if the gift has to be returned. Retailers are entitled to take steps to ensure
returns are legitimate; such as requiring receipts and refusing returns of
certain items if they are opened. They should not be viewed as the bad
guy, just because they are trying to alleviate return frauds, which can
result in higher costs and therefore higher prices to the consumer.
10) ABOVE ALL, BE AN ETHICAL CONSUMER THIS CHRISTMAS. If you
know that a product was brought abroad, and you want to exchange it
because it is the wrong size, you already have one like it or it is defective,
don’t take it to a store in Bermuda for the return. If it was not bought
there, don’t return it there.
Rhonda C.K. Daniels
Department of Consumer Affairs
For further information, visit the website at www.ca.gov.bm.