CONSUMERS LOSE MONEY BECAUSE THEY DONT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS

Kent County Council launches a video urging residents to ‘Think Before You Buy’.

Research carried out by Kent County Council shows that a majority of Kent residents are unaware of their consumer rights before they buy, often only finding out when something goes wrong.

The top-reported issue in Kent is with the purchase of second-hand cars, with 36% of the county’s population likely to have a problem in this area. A further 26% are at risk of falling victim to rogue traders and doorstep criminals.

The findings raise concerns that a large proportion of residents are at risk of being a victim of consumer crime and are unaware of their basic consumer rights. To highlight this issue, Kent County Council is urging people to ‘Think Before You Buy’ with the launch of their new Lego video.

The video, although playful in tone, highlights an important issue that’s on the rise in the county – customers falling victim because they do not know their rights with goods and services they buy.

Analysis of those who report consumer issues to Citizens Advice shows that retired people, middle-aged parents and young professional parents are most likely to complain about second-hand car problems. In contrast, those least likely to contact Citizens Advice for help or advice, even if there is an issue, are middle-aged and young unmarried couples and students.

And with 66 shopping days left until Christmas, KCC is urging their residents to find out their consumer rights and read terms and conditions before they buy, especially when buying online. Some businesses change their delivery and returns policies for the festive period to cope with demand which some shoppers do not realise until they have completed the transaction or try to return unwanted goods.

Research carried out by Citizens Advice found that consumers were most likely to call its helpline in January than at any other time of the year. Complaints were mostly about defective goods, misleading claims and descriptions about purchases on gifts bought for Christmas.

Along with their online Lego video to raise awareness of and encourage residents to ‘Think Before You Buy’, Kent Country Council have compiled a list of top tips to help consumers problems. These tips include how to shop safely online, what to do when buying a second hand car and how to find and contract with a reputable trader.

The full list of tips can be found at: www.kent.gov.uk/thinkbeforeyoubuy

Doorstep criminals continue to target Kent residents for overpriced, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work including roofing, driveways, guttering and gardening.

News about the most recent consumer rights crimes in Kent and successful prosecutions, such as a doorstep criminal ordered to pay £68,000 and a money-launderer jailed for 14 months, can be found on the Kent County Council website, highlighting just how common these types of issues are in the county: https://kccmediahub.net/category/pressreleases/trading-standards

Rebecca Lacey, Customer Information Manager at KCC, said: “We are seeing a rise in problems when people buy second-hand cars, shop online and have work done by uninvited doorstep traders. “The most common work offered by doorstep traders is gardening and driveway repairs and unfortunately not all traders are reputable. This is why we created the ‘Think Before You Buy video’, to encourage residents to think more carefully and do more research before they part with any money or sign a contract.”

Watch the online video here: http://www.kent.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/consumer-protection/think-before-you-buy

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