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In recent years there has been a move towards the selling of counterfeit products on social media, and ahead of Christmas the most common phonies were must have children’s toys.

Across the country officers have been discovering counterfeit toys including the must have LOL Surprise Dolls, Fingerlings and Lego mini figures.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging shoppers to be wary of turning to “suspect” online sellers offering next day delivery on toys that are out of stock elsewhere, warning that they may not actually exist.

It is urging shoppers to look for the CE safety mark on toys or their packaging, and is calling for this to be clearly included in the information on websites selling toys.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Christmas can be a great time for bargains but it can also be a magnet for dodgy traders and criminals who won’t think twice about making easy money from selling dangerous toys to unsuspecting shoppers.

“Faulty electrical toys can lead to fires or electrocution, inferior materials can break and cause injuries, while toxic levels of ingredients can cause burns, illness and even prove fatal.

“As well as looking out for grammar and spelling errors on packaging tell tale signs of counterfeit goods people need to resist cheap offers that look too good to be true, particularly if certain toys are sold out in well known retailers, as this could be a sign that they are fake, unsafe and poor quality or simply don’t exist.

“Selling illegal, fake toys is a crime and ruins the reputation of genuine traders, harms legitimate businesses, costs the economy millions in lost tax revenue and often funds organised criminal gangs.”

It doesn’t stop there though with reports of counterfeit UGG Boots, IPhone and hair straighteners also found.

If you spot a fake,
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or think you’ve receive a gift that is counterfeit call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Trading Standards says the likelihood of being able to obtain a refund through contacting the seller is “remote”.

James Walker, founder of financial advice website Resolver, said: “We’ve been literally flooded with complaints about deliveries in the last few weeks particularly on delivery dates not being met.

“Don’t panic! If you’ve not got your gifts in time, you can cancel and get a refund.

“Don’t waste time arguing with the delivery firm go to the retailer it’s their job to get your goods to you on time.”

With many people still awaiting undelivered Christmas presents, and others looking to order online in the Boxing Day sales, consumers are being urged to know your rights:

Complain to the retailer, not the courier.

When you enter in to an agreement with a retailer, your contract is with them, not with any third party they use during the process of carrying out the transaction.

If it didn’t arrive, it’s up to them to prove it.

Retailers are usually able to track deliveries through their contracted delivery services. The onus is on them to prove you received the item, not the other way around. You’re entitled to ask for proof of delivery if you’re being charged for an item you haven’t received.

You can also report the seller to Trading Standards or report the seller for fraud. Trading Standards might take legal action against the seller, but they can’t help you to get your money back.

You have the legal right to a refund within a ‘reasonable’ time. The law isn’t very specific on how long you have, but if you’re confident you should be entitled to a refund within the first two months or so.

If you paid for the item more than two months ago, you’re legally entitled to a partial refund, depending on how much you’ve used the item and how long you’ve had it.

You’re legally entitled to a full refund on fake goods within 30 days of paying for them.

Sometimes sellers argue items were obviously fake because they were very cheap. However, they’re breaking the law by selling fake items and your legal rights still apply.
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