Consumer tip… Avoiding the knock offs, expired products and unwanted loans at Christmas

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It’s that jolly time of year again, the Christmas Season; easily the best time of year for millions of people. At this time, all of us are busily engaged in getting our homes cleaned and making necessary repairs.

Outside of that, we are caught up with the purchasing of gifts to give our friends and relatives. In some cases, this happens willingly or due to gift exchange exercises done by co-workers.

Regardless of the reason for buying gifts, a number of things need to be taken into consideration. We all should want to know that whatever gift we choose to buy, it is of the best quality. But finding good quality is increasingly harder these days, since there are companies that specialise in producing fake goods or imitations of original items.

With this in mind, consumers need to be on the lookout for the fake and substandard products when shopping for themselves, their homes and for friends and loved ones. There are a few tips that can be practiced while in the marketplace.

Let us start online. With the growing use of the internet, it has become a global marketplace. Products can be bought and shipped across continents. One of the ‘go to’ websites is ‘Amazon’. However, regardless of which website you choose to make your purchase, there is one thing you should do before finalising your transaction; that is, read product reviews.

Some products are very attractive and seem practical and perfect, however, when you read product reviews that are posted by persons that previously bought the same product, you get a clear idea of how good the item is. You can know how long it is expected to last, if it even works, what problems are likely to arise and whether it is worth the price.

With this knowledge as a consumer, you are equipped to make an informed choice before spending your hard-earned cash.

Secondly, it is advisable that you buy products made by reputable brands. If you are physically buying from a store, you should become au fait with how the authentic product is branded so that you can identify a fake if it is on the shelf.

This was necessary some time back when a number of fake Samsung mobile phones were being imported into Guyana. However, a simple check online on how to notice the authentic phone helped consumers not to be duped.

If you are purchasing online, it might be best to purchase the items from the official website of the maker. This way, you don’t have to worry about buying knockoffs.

In addition to buying from reputable brands, consumers should practise buying from wholesalers and retailers that can be trusted based on their track-record over the years. Some stores import a number of products made by different companies but all are authentic.

This is not to say that some recently opened stores won’t have authentic products, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Also, a physical examination of the products we are thinking of buying can reveal a number of indications which would speak to authenticity. Observations can help to classify a product as good quality or poorly made. We need to be conscious of what we are buying so that we get nothing less than the best.

Another tip is to do some research about the average price for a specific product. By doing this, you know what price to accept when buying. Some stores seek to sell at unreasonably high prices, thereby taking advantage of the festive season.

Moreover, some of us tend to spend more than we should, and to afford the extra items we wish to buy, we take loans from banks, loan institutions or trusted friends or relatives. It is always good to live within your means, that is, live according to your income. Only if it is absolutely necessary then is it acceptable to take out a loan. When doing this too, one must ensure that they can afford the rate of repayment or monthly instalments.

A loan can bind you for a considerable period. This advice is applicable when taking items on layaway or hire purchase. We tend to buy a lot of appliances and household furnishings at Christmas. Some folks can afford to pay while others fail to honour their obligations and face the embarrassment of having to return those items. Let us try to avoid embarrassing situations and shop smart.

As consumers, we simply need to become aware of what obtains in the market place so that we can always come out on top. With those words, safe shopping and Merry Christmas!

Article Categories:
Consumer Tips · Issue 29 · Publication

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