Summer fashion sales will bring a breath of oxygen into the economic crisis, starting on 6 July in Milan, Italy’s fashion capital. No promotional offers are allowed in the period leading up to the start. For two months, fashion shops will be offering some of Italy’s world-renowned glad rags at knock-down prices. Both customers and shopkeepers will be raring to go, as the summer sales traditionally account for 30 per cent of the year’s turnover, says the Federmoda trade association. The rules are simple, but shoppers are advised to check carefully that they are being observed. For a start, items being offered at reduced prices have to be in a separate area of the store from goods that are not on sale, or if the layout of the store makes that impossible, there must be adequately visible signs showing where the on-sales items are displayed. And each bargain must be clearly labelled with the normal starting price as well as the percentage of discount for the duration of the sales. It is essential to keep the till receipt (scontrino), because if you discover a defect in the product, you will need to show this to demand a replacement, rebate or a refund. Consumer association Altroconsumo warns: beware of suspiciously generous discounts, and don’t be afraid to ask for explanations if they seem too tempting. Exchanging the goods after leaving the shop – for example, if the size is not right – is at the shopkeeper’s discretion, so always ask what their rule is, and how many days you have before it’s too late. You have a right to a two-year guarantee, so remember to photocopy a cash receipt printed on thermal paper, which can fade and become illegible in a few weeks. And remember that a shop showing a sticker by a credit card chain is obliged to accept the card even during the sales, and without demanding an extra fee.
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