26 September 2023

Xmas shoppers urged to be ‘top of the shops’

Start the conversation

The Commissioner for Consumer Protection has urged the public to get on top of their Christmas shopping early to avoid disappointment.

The Commissioner, Gary Newcombe said online shopping was an easy and convenient way to buy Christmas gifts, but shoppers should be aware of scammers looking to trick unsuspecting victims into buying a product they might never receive.

“Already in 2022, WA ScamNet reports 354 Western Australians have lost a total of $1,074,637 to online shopping scams through a range of fake websites and social media pages,” Mr Newcombe said.

“To be cyber-safe when shopping online, look at the overall quality of the website or social media page,” he said.

“If there are grammatical errors, poorly-edited images and no information on the location, it could be a scam.”

He said another red flag was the method of payment requested.

“Only pay by credit card or a secure payment method like PayPal,” Mr Newcombe said.

“That way, if something goes wrong, you can get your money back more easily,” he said.

“Don’t be fooled into paying via electronic funds transfer, money order, pre-loaded money card or crypto-currency as it is unlikely you will get your money back through these methods if you don’t receive your goods.”

He said with record numbers of Australians shopping online, deliveries were already surging, so it was recommended to do online shopping and post the Christmas gifts early.

“Online retailers should provide a timeframe for delivery and if your goods fail to arrive by the timeframe indicated (or within a reasonable amount of time if no timeframe was indicated), your Australian Consumer Law (ACL) rights mean you can ask for a refund or credit,” Mr Newcombe said.

“For goods that don’t arrive, you can seek a charge-back from your financial institution if you paid via credit card. If you paid by PayPal you can lodge a dispute for a refund.

He said the best advice to ensure Christmas gifts made it under the tree was to shop in a local bricks-and-mortar store or give preference to Western Australian online retailers.

Western Australian shoppers can report a scam on the WA ScamNet website at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.