money trap

Avoid the toy money trap at Christmas

Ever been caught out by a dodgy product purchase at Christmas? Here's what you can do to safeguard yourself and your cash.

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How long are kids toys supposed to last these days? A month, a few months or years? It’s debatable and it’s probably costing parents hundreds of dollars each year.

In September, I bought my daughter three toys based on loveable Disney characters and all three items broke within two months.

Now for brands like Apple, I might expect this with their iphones or other devices that have an uncanny way of dying around the same release time of the new and improved model.

But for kids toys, which are surely road tested for their durability against little tikes, it seems they ain’t made like they used to be.

So what can you do to ensure you are not caught out this Christmas by toy or other product failures?

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is encouraging Aussies to plan their purchases and know their rights following reports consumers are set to spend more than $1 billion a day in the lead up to Christmas.

CHOICE has offered up a number of tips that will help shoppers get the most out of their toy and other product spends this festive season.

Compare products and prices Comparing prices and products online and in store will help guard against over-paying this Christmas. When CHOICE reviewed tights and stockings earlier this year we found the cheapest tights significantly outperformed the more expensive brand despite the pricier pair costing 2154 per cent more.

Avoid the shopping centre trap Shopping centres are designed to get you spending more once inside. Tactics include deliberately disorientating shoppers and channelling their movements to increase the chances of an unplanned purchase. To avoid the shopping centre trap, make a list and stick to it.

Know your refund rights If an item doesn’t do what you expect or isn’t of acceptable quality, retailers are obliged to either repair or replace it. However, stores don’t have to take back a product if you simply change your mind.

Keep your receipts It goes without saying that if you can hang on to your shopping receipts on key items, even by taking a photo of them, then you minimise hassle when it comes to refunds and exchanges.

Avoid being duped online Online stores are subject to the same legislation as bricks and mortar retailers but you still need to do you homework to ensure you can trust who you are dealing with.

To avoid being duped, check to see if the online retailer has a physical address and phone number and review their returns policy.

Sign up for free product safety alerts This year has seen a number of popular products recalled in Australia for safety reasons, so signing up for free recall alerts will help ensure you get notified if one of your Christmas purchases is a danger to you or your family.

Check out Product Safety Australia to find the names of any toys or products which have been recalled.

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