There are considerations for consumers when making purchases online at any time, but care should be taken during online events to ensure your purchases are safe and provide value-for-money. The impulse to purchase something straight away when we see a bargain is all too familiar for most of us. To ensure that our expectations are met, it is important to know what to do when things go wrong, and our rights as consumers in these situations.
Amazon Prime Day is an annual shopping event where items can be ordered at discounted prices online and like black Friday, there are offers available on products for a very limited period. Usually held on the 15th of June each year, but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this will now be held on the 13th and 14th of October.
Amazon Prime can only be accessed by using an Amazon Prime account. This either requires you to be subscribed to Amazon Prime or utilise the free trial on these dates.
It is important for consumers to be aware of the differences between Amazon Prime and other Marketplace sellers when making purchases on Amazon Prime Day.
What’s the difference?
Amazon is an online retailer for various products.
Amazon Marketplace is an online shopping network where other retailers can sell products through the Amazon site.
Amazon Marketplace allows the sale of new and used items, whereas Amazon does not.
When making purchases online, it is useful to look at the prices of items that you are interested in elsewhere as a guide to ensure that you are getting value for money. This allows you to make an informed choice before making purchase.
Check that the new sale price is lower than alternatives, and factor additional charges, such as delivery and extended warranties into the decision.
Vistalworks: Keeping online shoppers safe from harm
Vistalworks have created a simple tool to use when shopping online to ensure the purchase you are making is all it seems. This can now be used on Amazon!
By entering the URL (web address) of the item that you intend to buy, the simple query tool provides warnings if there is potential risk of the item being fake, illicit, or dangerous.
You can enter the URL to check before buying HERE.
What to do when things go wrong
Amazon states that returns policies offered by Marketplace Sellers must be the equivalent, or better than the returns policy offered by Amazon.co.uk (with the exception on Amazon’s extended Christmas returns policy which not all Marketplace Sellers follow).
When you are shopping on Amazon Marketplace, you can view information on the seller in question by clicking on their name.
By doing this, you can find out information on that seller, including delivery, return postage rates, help, and feedback and reviews of the seller.
This information can be particularly useful in helping you to decide about purchasing from the seller, however, be wary of generic reviews that repeat the same information as this can be evidence of fictional purchases and fake reviews.
According to Amazon’s International Return Policy, Marketplace Sellers who dispatch from locations outside of the UK are required to –
- provide a return address within the UK or,
- provide a pre-paid return label or,
- offer a full refund without requesting the item be returned.
If a Seller on Amazon Marketplace does not offer these methods to return items, you may file an A-Z Guarantee Claim with Amazon to seek assistance in returning the item.
How to return items to a seller
The ‘Returns Support Centre’ in a customer’s Amazon account offers an option to ‘Return Items’. When in this section of their website, you select the item that you want to return, as well as the reason for this and the Seller will review the request and respond.
If sellers do not respond within 2 business days, you may be eligible to submit a claim under the Amazon.co.uk A-to-z Guarantee.
Amazon state that delivery and handling charges for returning unwanted, damaged, or items that are materially different to a Seller’s international address, should be paid by the Seller.
If a local return address cannot be provided, the seller can provide a prepaid method of return delivery or refund the delivery cost to the original payment method used to purchase the order.
Consumers are encouraged to use the relevant tracking / signed for service on return deliveries for items over £50, and additionally, insurance on items valued at £100 or more.
Returns that are ‘lost-in-transit’
Amazon.co.uk advise that they can implement the A-to-z Guarantee on items that are not received by the seller when returned by the customer.
Proof of sending (i.e. the relevant tracking / signed-for service) should be used to ensure that this guarantee can be used.
By ensuring that you follow the guidance supplied by Amazon.co.uk, in purchases made through Amazon or from a Seller on Amazon Marketplace, you can ensure that your consumer rights are upheld when things go wrong.
When shopping on Amazon Day, remember to:
- Research the seller before purchasing – check for generic and negative reviews
- Ensure that you return items in a timely fashion – your standard consumer rights stand for faulty or damaged goods.
- Use Amazon A-to-z Guarantee when things go wrong – following the correct process keeps you right
- Post it properly – Returns should be sent through the proper postage channels, tracking and signed-for, and insured if valued at £100 or more
- Don’t rush into a purchase before researching alternatives – The same item may be available elsewhere for less.