As the build up Black Friday and December 25 gets underway, Dean Dunham explains the shopping need-to-knows to protect your wallet and your consumer rights this season

With online purchases, you do have a returns right, but only for 14 days

Christmas shopping is now in full swing, and retailers are hoping to cash in on the occasion, so its important for you to know your consumer rights.

When it comes to buying in stores and online, make sure you know what the returns policies are – and how long you have to return gifts.

More importantly, get clued up on what to look out for to avoid a Christmas scam.

Here’s the five key questions you need to ask before spending your money with a trader this Christmas.

1. Do you accept credit or debit cards?

If you cant pay with a credit or debit card my advice is to shop elsewhere.

These payment method provide you with a great deal of protection if something goes wrong – with a debit card you can make a chargeback claim within 126 days of a purchase and with a credit card you can make a section 75 claim.

2. What are my exchange rights?

Ordinarily you have no right to return goods purchased instore, just because you changed your mind or the recipient of your gift did not like it.

With online purchases you do have this right but must exercise it within 14 days of delivery.

However, it all changes with Christmas shopping as most retailers have special extended exchange rights during the festive period.

3. Is delivery…

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