Stay safe when Christmas shopping this year

Published: 26 November 2021

Couple shopping at christmas. Christmas lights.

Stay alert for illegitimate sellers this Christmas

As Christmas approaches, many of us are busily buying gifts, including new pets for our families and loved ones. Derby City Council Trading Standards are reminding residents to think carefully about where they’re buying gifts. It is easy to purchase a toy believing it is legitimate and safe when actually the seller may have sold you a faulty or counterfeit item.

The same applies to the purchase of pets. The Chief Veterinary Officer has warned people about the dangers of buying pets from deceitful online breeders. These sellers may lie about where the pet is from, how old it is and their medical history.  

Councillor Jerry Pearce said,

“Unfortunately, at this time of year especially, there are those who prey upon us. It is extremely important that we check that what we are purchasing is legal and safe. By staying vigilant and remembering to check the sellers background, we can all make sure that we avoid those trying to sell counterfeit products.”

Sadly, children’s toys are regularly targeted by fraudsters. Whether you are purchasing items online or in person there are tell-tale signs to look for that could help you avoid being tricked by a dangerous or counterfeit product.

  • Look for the CE symbol: This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. Find the symbol on the label or box.
  • Reputation matters: Check the suppliers have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. They’ll have good safety standards and refund policies.
  • Button battery safety: Christmas toys may have button batteries - which can prove lethal if ingested. Check they are screwed in safely before giving to a child.
  • Check age restrictions: Toys must be clearly marked with age restrictions, which assess risks such as choking hazards. Always follow the age recommendations.
  • Inspect toy boxes: Wear and tear can make a toy unsafe. Check your children’s toys and get them repaired if necessary.

If you are looking to purchase a pet this Christmas, be wary of those who may not be honest about what they are selling and the condition the animal may be in. This Christmas, remember S.P.O.T:

  • Seller - Put the seller’s name and details including phone number into a search engine – avoid those with multiple adverts.
  • Parent - Make sure you see puppies and kittens in their home with their mother.
  • Old enough - Check puppies and kittens are at least eight weeks old before you take them home.
  • Treatment - Ask to see the animal’s health records and avoid sellers who can’t provide them.

To learn more about how to avoid purchasing from an illegitimate pet seller, visit the website

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