Scots have been encouraged to make informed spending choices as National Consumer Week gets underway.
With the cost-of-living crisis hitting household budgets, consumers are being urged to carefully consider purchases in the run-up to Christmas. National Consumer Week operates across the UK, and in Scotland it is led by Advice Direct Scotland – which runs the national consumer and energy advice services consumeradvice.scot and energyadvice.scot.
This year’s ‘savvy spenders’ campaign highlights the importance of Scots thinking about where they make purchases, especially for high-ticket items such as cars.
One of the most common contacts to Advice Direct Scotland relate to used cars, with 12% of inquiries about these. Home improvements account for 15% of total contacts, with consumers getting in touch about furniture, building and roofing work, and glazing issues.
National Consumer Week Scotland, which runs on social media platforms until Sunday November 20, will encourage Scots to know their rights. The campaign also offers energy savings tips, where to get practical support with gas and electricity bills, and how to avoid scams. Online adverts will use the hashtag #NCWScotland.
Key tips for consumers:
- When it comes to cars consider where you buy – seeking recourse can be easier through a dealership or garage than places such as Facebook Marketplace.
- Make the most of your money – check prices with other retailers before any final decisions.
- Avoid hidden delivery charges – check the terms and conditions before you buy.
- Use a credit card if spending over £100 – your purchase will be protected under the Consumer Credit Act.
- Returns and repairs – goods should be of satisfactory quality, there should be no faults or damage, and the goods should be durable.
- Struggling with energy costs or understanding bills and meters – energyadvice.scot can provide free, practical advice on support and assistance.
- Avoid scammers offering bogus energy efficiency measures – check what you are signing and seek advice from reputable sources such as consumeradvice.scot.
- Remember that help is available if something goes wrong – organisations such as consumeradvice.scot will help you resolve the problem.
Conor Forbes, director of policy with Advice Direct Scotland, said:
“The cost-of-living crisis has had a worrying impact on Scottish consumers, so it is more important than ever that they are aware of their rights and know what to do if things go wrong.
“This week we’re encouraging everyone to become ‘savvy spenders’ by making informed choices about the things we spend our money on.
“Whether you’re buying a new car or looking for a new boiler, we will be sharing our top tips to help ensure Scots are not caught out.
“Consumer legislation is there to protect us when things do not go to plan, and our team is on hand to help Scots with free, practical and impartial advice.”
Lyndsay McFee, team lead for consumeradvice.scot, said:
“We see the continued trend of contacts relating to used cars and home improvements, but people are understandably more anxious about ensuring they receive the refunds, repairs, or replacements they are entitled to.
“With hikes in energy costs and the prices of other goods and services, it is becoming increasingly important that people get the money they are owed, or the products or services they have paid for.
“Additionally, people are now realising that they can no longer afford holidays and travel that they booked at the start of the year and are contacting us to ascertain whether refunds are obtainable, and how they go about getting them.”
National Consumer Week Scotland 2022 is led by Advice Direct Scotland through consumeradvice.scot, the national consumer helpline, supported by the Scottish Government. More information on the campaign, as well as campaign materials available for download can be found by visiting the official campaign page.
consumeradvice.scot is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland. Consumers can seek help in a number of different ways: freephone 0808 164 6000 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm); and online, web chat and email at www.consumeradvice.scot.