RESIDENTS have been warned not to be ‘duped’ by online deals ahead of Christmas.

Citizens Advice Halton has issued guidance to consumers buying from internet marketplaces – warning that they have fewer rights when they buy from private sellers compared to when they purchase items from a business.

While sellers are not allowed to give false details, some may omit information.

Residents are being warned to check all the product information carefully before buying items online, to read previous reviews of sellers and to save screenshots of their purchases.

Other advice includes using a payment method with protection, such as a credit or debit card or Paypal.

Hitesh Patel, chief officer of Citizens Advice Halton, said: "Far too many people are being ripped off on online marketplaces.

"As part of National Consumer Week, we want to make sure customers know what to look out for when making a purchase and their rights if something goes wrong.

"With millions of people trying to find a bargain online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, buyers need to beware when purchasing off online marketplaces.

"To reduce the risk of being left out-of-pocket, it’s a good idea to check the product information on these sites carefully before they make a purchase."