Cheshire East Council is warning residents not to get caught by a festive toy-buying scam as online sales continue to rise.
In partnership with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), the council’s trading standards team is encouraging residents to be extremely vigilant when making purchases this year. To avoid becoming a victim of a Christmas toy scam in 2020, please:
· Buy toys from a reputable retailer – the manufacturer must have a name and address on their website;
· Read ratings and reviews to make sure the retailer has a good reputation;
· Always read warnings – age restrictions must be marked based on risks such as choking hazards;
· Make sure the toy is suitable for the person you are buying for – festive novelties can look like toys when they should be kept away from children;
· Remember that children with special needs can be more vulnerable to certain toys;
· Ensure that the toy has not been recalled - you can do this at the government’s product recall site;
· Make sure that if a toy has button batteries that the batteries are behind a screwed-down flap;
· Avoid buying toys with small parts as they can be a choking hazard
· Remember that toys with loose ribbons can pose a strangulation risk to younger children;
· Compare the price of the product with other retailers and sellers – if it is a fraction of the cost, it is likely to be counterfeit;
· Make sure payment pages are secure by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and that there’s a closed padlock in the address bar; and
· Ensure that the sites that you are using have words spelled correctly.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “Of course, we always send this message out to residents at this time of year, but this year more than at any other time, I really do urge people to be extra vigilant.
“Unfortunately, there will always be unscrupulous scammers posing as genuine retailers and they’ll know that more people will be shopping for gifts online than ever before.
“If you’re not sure, just stop and look elsewhere.”
Groups, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to support the consumer awareness messages, on how to shop safely when purchasing Christmas toys online, by retweeting and posting them on social media, using the hashtag #shopsafely