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How to protect your consumer rights this Amazon Prime season

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Millions of shoppers have been enticed to splurge on all sorts of deals (PA)
Millions of shoppers have been enticed to splurge on all sorts of deals (PA)

By now, UK shoppers are expected to have parted with an extra £1.4bn in the latest record-breaking Prime Day shopathon.

Neither economic uncertainty, scam warnings nor data pointing to cheaper deals at other times are likely to have dampened the enthusiasm of the nation’s online shoppers, with an expected 44 per cent increase in spending on the Amazon site this year compared with 2020.

Other online retailers are also set to receive a significant boost – with sales up by as much as a quarter in previous years – thanks to the “halo effect”, when consumers spill out from Amazon and make a point of shopping for deals on rival sites and across the internet during those days in a break from their usual spending habits. And yet this year’s event is likely to be a little more subdued.

“Traditionally, Amazon Prime Day sales have jumped by around 55 per cent every year,” says David Jinks, head of consumer research for e-commerce delivery business ParcelHero.

“However, we must also be realistic. Last year’s Prime Day was in October, ideally placed for the beginning of Christmas shopping and at a time when many countries were still in full lockdown.

“This year, it kicks off on 21 June – the earliest date ever – and the high street has reopened. With that in mind, we’re being a little cautious with our forecast this year and predict a ‘mere’ 44 per cent growth in spending over the two days.”

Timing is everything in other ways too. Data from comparison site idealo that picked apart prices on more than 840,000 items over the last three years, does indeed suggest that Prime Day is the best money-saving event for deals in around 54 per cent of cases, particularly when purchasing tech.

But with better offers on personal items like running shoes or food processors, Black Friday – itself notorious for not actually being the cheapest time to buy – was still cheaper than Prime Day on around a third of occasions.

Katy Phillips, spokesperson for the site, says: “Our study ultimately shows that focusing on one event such as Black Friday or Prime Day could result in spending much more than needed, and that these ‘deals’ aren’t always real.”

There’s also the question of getting hold of the item. Each year, Amazon delivers around 3.5 billion parcels around the world, and this week is expected to see some of the busiest shipping days in the UK.

“With such a large volume of packages being shipped at once, it’s highly likely some orders will receive a bit of wear and tear or go missing on the journey from warehouse to your door,” says James Andrews, senior personal finance editor for financial comparison site, money.co.uk.

“The good news is that you’re protected: the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations Act from 2013 cover everything from damaged deliveries to entirely absent orders.

“The Consumer Rights Act stipulates that the retailer – not the delivery firm – is responsible for getting your purchases to you. That means anything missing or damaged is their responsibility to fix – as your contract is with them, not the people dropping it to your door or the manufacturer,” notes Andrews.

“The Consumer Contracts Regulations also give you 14 days to send something you’ve bought online back, for any reason at all, and get a full refund. This is to reflect the fact it’s impossible to tell how well something will fit, how it feels or what it looks like in real life when you buy it remotely – although there are some exceptions for personalised items and perishable goods.”

If there’s a problem with your order – for example it’s broken by the time it gets to you or doesn’t work – you have 30 days to report it to be guaranteed a full refund.

But you have longer than that if you’re happy with a replacement or getting the item fixed – with shops required to repair or replace faulty products within six months, unless the shop can prove it wasn’t faulty before you received it.

Aside from knowing your refund and return rights, he warns that keeping proof of purchase is vital – the email confirming your order, the proof of dispatch as well as confirmation of delivery.

“Finally, if you made your Prime Day purchases on a credit card, you picked up an additional layer of protection,” Andrews adds.

“With any purchase costing between £100 and £30,000, you’re automatically protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if you paid for any part of it with a credit card. This means you have the right to apply for a refund from your card provider as well as the retailer if something goes wrong with the purchase.”

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