Stay safe, warm and well this Christmas

Throughout December we’ll be sharing useful information on our website and via our social media channels to keep you safe, warm and well, as well as tips on how to have a ‘green’ Christmas. We’ll also update you on our service changes and closures over the Christmas break.

This week we have kicked off with advice from our Trading Standards team on pitfalls to avoid this Christmas; the team are investigating reports of pedlars selling counterfeit perfume and aftershave out of shopping bags.

The goods have been confirmed as fake – so the ingredients are unknown and could potentially be unsafe. At this time of year, many pop-up stalls and pedlars are circulating in the area, often selling fake goods that should be avoided.

Christmas shoppers are also advised to avoid unsafe toys available online. Some dishonest manufacturers are using dangerous materials in products popular with children, such as some plastics which can cause serious toxic effects.

The advice is to carefully research sellers and ask yourself:

  • are you buying directly from an online platform or is it a third-party seller?
  • what do you know about the seller's reputation for selling safe goods?
  • is the seller based in the UK?
  • does the seller provide a name and address for you to contact?

For consumer advice or to report unsafe products call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

The Council is also supporting the annual national anti-loan shark campaign #AllIWantForChristmas

Research shows that Christmas is the second highest reason that people borrow money from loan sharks. Families are being warned not to turn to predatory loan sharks charging excessive amounts of interest if they are facing financial hardship over Christmas.

People are being advised to watch out for warning signs of loan sharks and report them if they are approached by one and if you really need to borrow money, check the lender is reputable and find out what interest and fees they charge. You can find out whether a money lender is authorised by checking the register on the FCA website.

Loan sharks are increasingly using social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to advertise their illegal loans and target potential victims. We urge you to be wary of people you don’t know sending messages through social media accounts.

You should also check you are getting all the financial support you are entitled to. Find out more on our debt advice pages.

Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222.