Source: Scotland – Highland Council
The Highland Council Trading Standards team and the Trading Standards Service Illegal Money Lending Unit have combined efforts in a bid to advise students on how to protect themselves from unscrupulous loan providers and how to protect themselves online as well as know their shopping rights.
Highland Council Trading Standards and Trading Standards Service Illegal Money Lending Unit are to jointly hold a stall for students attending Freshers Fayre at Inverness College, UHI Campus, Inverness on 11th September 2019.
Trading Standards Enforcement Officers will be on hand to advise new students on their consumer rights and wrongs as well as provide online shopping advice. Advice will also be provided to students on how to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain.
David MacKenzie, Highland Council Trading Standards Manager explains: “We welcome the opportunity to engage with students at the HISA Fresher’s Fayre for a second year and raise awareness of the extra protection that consumers have when they shop online, over the phone; or from a mail order catalogue; or from a TV shopping channel”.
David MacKenzie adds: “Younger students leaving home for the first time may not be aware of their shopping rights and may not be aware of the potential pitfalls when shopping online regarding excessive delivery charges or shopping scams. It may be that prior to leaving home that their parents or guardians carried out most of the family shopping regarding clothes; electrical items and other household goods. It is really important therefore that students know their shopping rights and know who to turn to if things go wrong or they need advice and help”.
Highland Council Trading Standards work in partnership with Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) who provide a freephone consumer advice helpline on 0808 164 6000. ADS also run an online advice website: https://www.consumeradvice.scot/ which provides a knowledge hub with information for consumers as well as contact to experience advisors either through their online webform or via their Facebook page or LIVE chat facility.
Students can also access information on how to avoid excessive delivery charges at www.deliverylaw.uk. This specially devised website provides information on rights and obligations for both consumers and business and practitioners in relation to parcel delivery.
Also on hand to give advice are support officers from the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit.
George Arbuckle (GA) from Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit explains: “Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable people in society and can cause immense misery. Young students, away from home for the first time, may be inexperienced in managing their own money and so fall into the trap of borrowing money from unregulated sources just to make ends meet.” GA explains further: “Illegal money lending is largely a hidden crime and is generally linked to other serious organised crime activity. We would want to hear from members of the public if this activity is happening in their local community and also advice people where to get help.”
The Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit (SIMLU) is part of Trading Standards Scotland and works in partnership other agencies and organisation across Scotland to help to eradicate the scourge of Loan Sharks. The Unit consists of specialist officers who investigate allegations of illegal money lending and related activity, submitting reports to the Procurator Fiscal as appropriate. The team also provide support for victims of illegal money lending and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from such lenders.
Members of the public who wish to contact the SIMLU if they suspect a loan shark is operating in their community can do so by telephone on 0800 074 0878. Further information about money advice services throughout Scotland can be found online at: http://www.tsscot.co.uk/loan-sharks/scottish-illegal-money-lending-unit
Highland Council Trading Standards and Trading Standards Service Illegal Money Lending Unit are to jointly hold a stall for students attending Freshers Fayre at Inverness College, UHI Campus, Inverness on 11th September 2019. For further information about Freshers Fayres throughout the Highlands students can visit the Highland and Islands Students Association (HISA) website at: https://www.hisa.uhi.ac.uk/