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BOXING DAY SALES: Consumers in the Highlands reminded not to make impulse buys in sales – 'if it seems too good to be true, it probably is'

By Louise Glen

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Beware when shopping in the sales.
Beware when shopping in the sales.

Scots consumers have been issued with advice on how to make the most of their money ahead of this year’s Boxing Day and January sales.

With Christmas almost upon us, many retailers are gearing up to offer bargain deals from first thing on Sunday.

Advice Direct Scotland, the country’s national advice service, has encouraged Scots to create a budget and think about how much money they can afford to spend during the sales before venturing online or setting foot on the high street.

In advance of going shopping, consumers should sit down and plan their purchases and the shops they would like to visit, along with their budget.

Having a list will allow shoppers to stay focused and avoid the all-too-easy impulse purchases, and Scots have also been urged to keep in mind that it is only a great deal if they will use or need the item.

Some shops will be running slightly different returns policies on sale items, so it is important to double check retailer terms and conditions before making a purchase.

Some might be offering an exchange-only policy on sale items; however, these policy changes should not affect statutory consumer rights.

Scots should also remember they have more rights online than in store, including the right to return most goods purchased online within 14 days for a full refund.

However, when shopping online, people may be targeted by scammers, especially through social media marketplaces and targeted advertising.

Anyone in Scotland who wants more advice on safe shopping, or any consumer matter, can contact consumeradvice.scot for free on 0808 164 6000. Specialist advisers are available from 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.

Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “The Boxing Day and January sales can be a good time to pick up a bargain, both online and on the high street.

“There are different things that we can do as consumers to make sure that we avoid living beyond our means, and the simplest way to prevent an accidental overspend is to create a budget.

“It can be helpful to keep an eye on your spending, either by jotting it down in a notepad, or by checking your online banking to make sure you are staying on track throughout your time shopping.

“Having a list will allow you to stay focused and avoid the all-too-easy impulse purchases.

“Also keep in mind that it’s only a great deal if you will use or need the item.

“If purchasing online, shop around, check for offers on free deliveries, and pay on a credit card if possible.

“And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

READ: 'Inclusion matters at Christmas, family, friends and a time when the whole country seems to share something', writes Sitakumari of Heartstone an organisation that works to reduce isolation in the Highlands and far beyond

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