How to avoid being mis-sold a product or service

Mis-selling happens when you end up with a product that is not right for you, or you simply do not want it. Find out how to avoid it happening to you here

Mis-selling occurs when you purchase something that is not right for you, you’ve been misinformed about the product or service, or you simply don’t want it.

This can happen when you are given unsuitable or misleading advice about the product, or additional fees are not disclosed to you. You may also feel coerced into your purchase, being made to feel you had no choice because of your seller’s high-pressure sales tactics.

The list goes on. It’s a long and undistinguished rundown of faults that lie with your broker, dealer, salesperson, or any third-party intermediary.

Being sold a product or service in this manner can happen in any sector, from leasing vehicles or purchasing a home to signing up for a pension investment or taking out a new phone contract.

You might think you have your wits about you and you know how to avoid having this happen to you, but the chances are it has already happened.

At Barings Law we already represent customers who are claiming compensation for mis-sold services in a variety of sectors. There’s only so much we can do, however, and there’s little that can be done to prevent  companies mis-selling in the first place. One thing we can do is to offer our advice in the hope that you can avoid becoming a victim of mis-selling.

Say no, and then say it again

Countless people fall victim to mis-selling because of pressurising sales tactics. It’s a widespread problem. We’ve all been in a situation where a sales agent will do everything they can to sell you a product. If your initial response is to say no, they will ask if you are sure before reeling off more reasons to purchase before you’ve even answered.

It’s hard to stand your ground sometimes, especially if they are relentless and give you no room to jump in and ask questions of your own. Learn that it’s okay to say no and repeat the message to the salesperson until the message gets through that you do not want what they are selling. If it’s not something you need, then it’s not worth burning a hole in your pocket for. 

The adage ‘buy in haste, repent at leisure’ should be at the forefront of your mind when an agent is relentlessly pursuing you to try to make a sale.

EDUCATE YOURSELF: Learning about the product you want before purchasing will reduce your risk of being mis-sold

Check out the product yourself before going to purchase it

Regardless of what you’re going to purchase, always check it out first before you enter any communication with the seller. You know what you need, so don’t get pressured into buying something that doesn’t meet your requirements because the only information you have on the product or service is what the seller told you.

You could have potentially been given the wrong information about the product or service, the wrong advice about what would work best for you, sold additional add-ons to make the most out of your product, or sold something as reduced when it was never sold at a higher price in the first place. There are many ways in which you could be misled so, in short, research the product you want and don’t be talked into buying something you don’t want or need.

Ask about additional charges

Mis-selling can also occur when you weren’t told about any additional charges that you may incur, such as commission fees.

If you’re purchasing or leasing a vehicle for example, the seller may be hiding the fact that they will make commission if the sale goes through. And they’re even more likely to hide that it will be at your cost.

If you ask about additional charges, including commission charges, and the information is still withheld from you then you have every right to make a formal complaint.

Read the small print

If you’re purchasing a product or service that requires a contract – even if it’s something you think you are safe with like your phone – read the small print.

WORRYING SIGN: We wouldn’t recommend agreeing a deal until you’ve read the small print

Nobody wants to be the person who does this, but by not doing so, you could be putting yourself at a higher risk of being mis-sold. It’s in these tucked-away bits of text where a lot of things you should know about, but the seller necessarily doesn’t want you to know, are kept. The devil is in the detail, as they say.

For example, ask yourself if your phone bill has gone up because of inflation rates? It’s guaranteed to be in your small print. If you notice anything in the small print that you’re not so sure of and think it’s something your seller doesn’t want you to ask questions about, bring it up. Their response will tell you if the contract is in your interest or theirs.

Seek legal advice

If you think you have been mis-sold, seek advice from the experts on your options. You may be entitled to claim compensation based on your financial losses.

Barings Law offers a range of services to help if you have been a victim of a mis-sold product or service, whether it’s financing a new vehicle or signing up to pension investments to a new energy deal for your business or misleading emissions levels on your car. You can find out more information about our services here.

If we do not have a claim type for your particular service or product, you can contact the appropriate regulatory body to raise a formal complaint and receive advice on your options. In many instances, this would normally be the Financial Ombudsman Service.

If you have doubts about a purchase you have made, whether you were mis-sold and if that mis-selling will cost you or your business money, speak to Barings Law by calling 0161 200 9960 or clicking on that icon at the bottom-right of this page to start a webchat. 

There’s no obligation for an initial consultation and we may be able to help to reclaim money you have unwittingly, unnecessarily or unknowingly spent.