Advice Columns: Scams

Thursday 27th June 2024

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo advice column this week we focus on scams.

I bought a pram for £400 online, but it never arrived. At checkout it said delivery would take 3-5 working days, but I never received any tracking information. I chased the seller and they said they’d speak to the delivery company, but now when I try to phone them my call goes straight to voicemail. I’ve had no response to emails either. The website I bought it through looked legitimate but now I’ve seen people posting on review sites about products that never arrived and some are saying this is a bogus seller. Have I been scammed and if so, what can I do?

This sounds like a very frustrating situation, and unfortunately scammers are always finding more sophisticated ways to trick shoppers, including having very legitimate-looking websites.

From your letter, there are signs it could be a scam. We’ve detailed information on our website about how to spot the signs of a scam that you might find useful to check.

As you’ve already parted with your money, the first step is to contact your bank immediately to let them know you think you’ve been scammed.

In terms of getting your money back, a lot depends on how you paid. We have full details on our website on the routes you can take. For example, if you paid by debit card, your card provider can ask the seller’s bank to refund the money. This is known as the ‘chargeback scheme’. If you paid by credit card and the item cost more than £100 but less than £30,000 you might be able to claim under the Consumer Credit Act. This is known as a ‘Section 75 claim’. Under £100 on credit card you can’t use Section 75, but you can use chargeback.

It’s always a good idea to report a scam, even if you haven’t got your money back yet. You can do this by contacting Action Fraud.

It’s also worth knowing your rights as a consumer in case the seller does get back in contact and turns out not to be a scammer. If something you ordered hasn’t arrived, it’s the seller’s responsibility to get the item to you. So if they say they don’t know where the pram is, you can ask for a redelivery or, depending on how long you’ve waited for a delivery, you may be able to get a refund from the seller.

We have advice on our website about how to do this.

It’s also worth knowing that if a trader, having taken your money, refuses to deliver an item, Trading Standards may be able to investigate them. For more advice on dealing with suspected scams or problems with traders, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline 0808 223 1133 or talk to an adviser online through the Citizens Advice website.

Many people may need emotional support after falling victim to a scam, and we have advice on our website about how to get this too. Citizens Advice runs Scams Awareness campaigns aiming to: give people skills to identify scams; encourage people to share their experiences with scams; help people gain the confidence to report scams. The campaign is led by Citizens Advice in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP).

 The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk