Scotland Reopening: Seven tips for how to shop safely as lockdown eases for shops, pubs and gyms

A national advice service has offered some timely tips for shopping safely in Scotland as coronavirus restrictions ease on Monday.

From today (April 26), “non-essential” shops are allowed to open their doors to the public after being shuttered since Boxing Day, with millions spent on safety-proofing them against Covid transmission.

Advice Direct Scotland have advised Scots to consider issues like refund policies as people start to make bookings and spend more money.

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John Craft, policy executive with Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national service, said: “The easing of restrictions will be hugely welcomed by Scots consumers and businesses alike.

“Many people will be making significant bookings and purchases for the first time in many months and helping the economy to recover.

“As the country slowly re-opens and people spend more of their money, there are a number of sensible tips to follow to ensure you’re not left out of pocket.

“This includes using a credit card if spending more than £100, checking refund and cancellation policies, and checking your consumer rights if something goes wrong.”

Seven tips for shopping safely

Shoppers pictured carrying Primark bags on Monday morning after they have visited the store for the first time in months. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

1 – Use a credit card if spending over £100 – your purchase will be protected under the Consumer Credit Act.

2 – Check the cancellation policy if booking a holiday to ensure you can get your money back.

3 – Remember you have a legal right to get a refund from a retailer, as long as you do it within 30 days.

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4 – If signing up to a gym membership, consider opening times, monthly costs and be realistic - don’t sign up to long-term contracts if you know you won’t go - and read the small print in the membership agreement, particularly in relation to cancellation.

5 – If you have a gift voucher that expired during lockdown, contact the company and ask for an extension – many are willing to extend expiry dates.

6 – Consider travel insurance for UK staycations, which could cover you if luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, and may cover you if you have to cancel or cut short your trip – but check the small print as each policy is different.

7 – Remember that help is available if something goes wrong – contact to help you resolve the problem.

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