20 September 2010

Northamptonshire County Council trading standards service is encouraging people to stay safe when buying goods online as part of National Consumer Week (20th to 24th September).

As the number of people choosing to shop online increases, the message of this year’s National Consumer Week is to ‘Be Safe Online’. A new survey into e-commerce conducted by the Trading Standards Institute with people who shop online showed that more than half (63%) fear their card or bank details will get stolen, a tenth (10%) worry their item won’t arrive and 6 per cent are concerned the item will turn out to be a fake.

Last year, Northamptonshire received 118 complaints and enquiries regarding internet shopping. Examples of the top issues raised by consumers in the county are:

  • Non delivery of goods ordered
  • Counterfeit goods supplied
  • Non delivery of tickets and website closed down
  • Problems with returning goods to the supplier
  • Cost of returning goods to the supplier
  • Mobile phone cash back offers

Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, county council cabinet member for customers and communities, said: “There are numerous benefits about shopping online, but it’s important that people are aware that there are also risks associated with it.

“That’s why the Trading Standards Institute has chosen this theme for National Consumer Week – to encourage everyone to be more aware of the risks, learn how to protect themselves and also to report any issues to trading standards.

“Anyone with any concerns about online shopping can contact trading standards by telephoning Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.”

Trading standards advice when shopping online is:

  • Choose your shopping sites carefully
  • Help yourself – think price, place and packaging
  • Ensure the site is secure (look for https and the padlock)
  • Contact the authorities if you spot something suspicious
  • Keep a copy of your order, details of the website and acknowledgements

For more information about staying safe online, visit http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/internet.cfm