EAST Renfrewshire’s trading standards team has issued annual advice on internet shopping ahead of the festive period.
Paul Holland, senior trading standards officer for East Ren, explained: “Internet shopping is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the run up to Christmas.
“Shoppers can buy goods safely from the convenience of their home if they follow a few simple tips to avoid being ripped off.
“We regularly receive complaints from people who have been conned by ‘here today gone tomorrow’ sites that fail to supply goods and services.
“It is essential that you understand how to safeguard your purchase - so please read our online checklist.”
Tips include making sure anti-virus software is up to date and that the sites you visit are secure - look for https:// and the golden padlock.
Ensure the website has contact details, and only buy items such as event tickets from authorised outlets.
Read the small print and check delivery times - and charges, for purchases and returns.
Never give your pin number out, and use a credit card where possible, as goods over £100 may be able to be claimed back (PayPal offers further protection for goods under £100).
When buying from abroad, problems may be more difficult to tackle, and goods from outside the EU may be liable to customers and excise duties and VAT.
For more information, the trading standards team recommends visiting www.getsafeonline.org. For trader complaints, contact Consumer Advice Scotland on 08454 040506 or www.cas.org.uk.