Who can you trust?
You may be spending a lot of money on your home décor so you will no doubt be looking for reassurance that you are shopping safely. The Internet has been a boon to retailers and shoppers but it has also allowed thieves and rogue traders to thrive under a cloak of anonymity. Here are a few questions you should always consider:
Are the products genuine? How can you tell?
With our fabrics we ensure that the manufacturer’s cutting label is intact on your roll – your proof of authenticity. You can also see the date the fabric was cut.
“Seconds” may look genuine at first sight, but common defects include out of specification colour, weaving or print imperfections and out of tolerance pattern repeats – which will make joining 2 pieces almost impossible.
Will I get my fabric in one piece?
Most fabric rolls contain ~30 metres. If you need more than this you must talk to an expert about cuts, batch matching and volume discounts. Sometimes it isn’t possible to get fabric all in one piece, so we will work with you or your curtain maker/upholsterer to get the right size cuts for your project. No online ordering system will give you that peace of mind.
Is the business VAT registered?
Even a small retailer will want to be VAT registered and they should display their VAT number on their website and correspondence. If they are not registered or want to hide this fact, ask yourself (or better still, them) why. Our VAT number is GB-870688190 and our registration is as Art from the Start Ltd. and you can verify this with HMRC or the EU VIES system online.
Does the company only take on-line orders?
Or can you discuss your requirements and order with an experienced and friendly person either face to face or over the phone? Does the website reveal who’s behind the business? As of January 1st 2007, new amendments to the Companies Act 2006 dictate that businesses must disclose their full company name, registered address and registration number on all company websites, regardless of whether they trade online.
Is the company based in the UK?
Overseas companies including Jersey are not governed by the same laws as the UK – your consumer rights may not be the same and you may be liable to pay import duty. We are UK registered and you can double check this with Companies House. You can use their on-line checker.
Is there a real “bricks and mortar” shop?
If a website fails to list a real address with a landline phone number, to where would return faulty goods? It’s a legal requirement for a legitimate business to list its full particulars on its website. Visit our real shop or use Google Street View to see that our shop really exists.
We have a real shop on the outskirts of York open six days a week with expert help on hand.
Are the on-line reviews genuine?
Does the website look professional and up to date?
Anyone can throw up a simple one page website nowadays. A legitimate business will invest time and effort in their website. It will be substantial and up to date.
That on-line quote could work out a lot more than you think if you have to add VAT. Some websites only add tax & carriage after you have registered and are part way through the purchasing process. An initial quote may look competitive until you add 20% for VAT, and maybe a credit card surcharge.
Does the company only accept PayPal?
Any bona-fide business will have the facility to process customer orders using a credit card terminal, and they will have been bank verified to get a merchant account. Credit cards also give you consumer protection rights. However, any member of the public can accept money using PayPal, Skrill or other money gateways. If they only use Western Union to receive payment, avoid. How safe is your money? We accept most credit/debit cards as well as cash/cheques and internet banking transfers.
Look for these signs.
How long has the company been trading?
Ask the question – we’ve been trading since 2005 and Companies House will verify this. You can use their on-line checker. You can also see that our website has been active over a decade.
Fake businesses are set up all the time, often with brand new websites designed to steal customer information (identity theft). So do you really know to whom you are giving your personal and financial information? Choose an established company with a strong reputation.
Does the website show a contact name and address?
If not whom would you contact if you had a problem?
Am I looking at an Ebay page rather than a real shop?
Watch out, these may be “rejects/seconds” or project leftovers. With project leftovers you have no idea how the fabric has been stored or for how long (be especially wary of velvets).
50% Sale? 60% Sale? 70% Sale?
Silly “supposed” mega-discounts just don’t happen except for roll-ends, withdrawn products or seconds.
Let’s be careful out there….