Research carried out by Kent County Council showed that a majority of Kent residents are unaware of their consumer rights before they buy; often only finding out when something goes wrong.
The top reported issue in Kent is with the purchase of second-hand cars, with 36% of the county’s population likely to have a problem in this area. A further 26% are at risk of falling victim to rogue traders, also known as doorstep criminals.
The findings raise concerns that a large proportion of residents are at risk of being a victim of consumer crime and are unaware of their basic consumer rights.
To highlight this issue, Kent County Council is urging people to ‘Think Before You Buy’ with the launch of their new LEGO video.
The video, although playful in tone, highlights an important issue that’s on the rise in the county of Kent; customers falling victim to not knowing their rights with goods and services they buy.
Analysis of those who report consumer issues to Citizens Advice shows that retired people, middle aged parents and young professional parents are most likely to complain about second-hand car problems.
In contrast, those least likely to contact Citizens Advice for help or advice, even if there is an issue, are middle aged couples, young unmarried couples and students.
And with 66 shopping days left until Christmas, Kent County Council are urging their residents to find out their consumer rights and read terms and conditions before they buy, especially when buying online.
Some businesses change their delivery and returns policies for the festive period to cope with demand which some shoppers do not realise until they have completed the transaction or try to return unwanted goods.
Research carried out by Citizens Advice found that consumers were most likely to call its helpline in January than any other time of the year. Complaints were mostly about defective goods, misleading claims and descriptions about purchases on gifts bought for Christmas.
Doorstep criminals continue to target Kent residents for overpriced, unnecessary and sometimes dangerous work including roofing, driveways, guttering and gardening.
Rebecca Lacey, Customer Information Manager at Kent County Council commented, “At Kent County Council, we’re seeing a rise in problems when people buy second hand cars, shop online and have work done by uninvited doorstep traders.
“The most common work offered by doorstep traders is gardening and driveway repairs and unfortunately not all traders are reputable.
“This is why we created the ‘Think Before You Buy video’, to encourage residents to think more carefully and do more research before they part with any money or sign a contract.”
Along with their online LEGO video to raise awareness of and encourage residents to ‘Think Before You Buy’, Kent Country Council have compiled a list of top tips to help consumers problems.
These tips include how to shop safely online, what to do when buying a second hand car and how to find and contract with a reputable trader.
The full list of tips can be found at: www.kent.gov.uk/thinkbeforeyoubuy