How to buy safe costumes and games for children’s Halloween party?

Q I’m having a Halloween party at my house for my kids and some of their friends. I need to buy costumes for my 5 and 3 year old son and daughter, as well as board games and home decorations. I do most of my shopping online these days. Given the age of my children and their friends, how can I be sure that what I buy is 100 pieces safe? Jo, County Louth

A When shopping online, be aware that all toys, costumes and accessories sold in the EU, intended for children under the age of 14, must meet certain product safety standards. For example, manufacturers should ensure that they are made from non-toxic materials that do not burn easily. They should also make sure that any part of children’s toys, costumes or accessories that might come loose are not small enough for a child to swallow – and that electric toys are properly insulated and protected from exposed live wires. .

There are a number of things to look out for when shopping for children’s Halloween items online.

First of all, check the CE mark on the toys, costumes, masks, wigs and other similar accessories for children’s Halloween costumes before purchasing them. The CE mark is a declaration by the manufacturer that the product complies with EU safety regulations and standards. The CE mark must appear on the product, in the instruction manual or on the packaging and be easy to read.

Second, always buy from reputable retailers. If you are buying online, it can be difficult to know who you are buying from. So do some quick research and check the reviews and social media pages. Check where the business is based. If you cannot easily find this information, approach with caution. If the business is based outside the EU, consider finding another store in the EU to ensure you have stronger rights if something goes wrong in the future.

Third, check for detachable parts that are smaller than the € 2 coin. One of the greatest dangers to children are small or detachable parts of toys, costumes or accessories, as they can get lodged in their ears, noses or throats and cause injury or a choking hazard for the child. young children.

Fourth: Check the age instructions on all children’s toys before purchasing them, especially for children up to three years old. Age labeling is the manufacturer’s way of telling you if toys are safe for a child of a particular age. Make sure to take into account young children in the house who could be in danger if they also play with the toy.

I’m looking for the best credit card for a student

Q I have just started university. I’m considering getting a student credit card so that I don’t have to ask my parents for money every time I want to go out or go away for the weekend. Do you have any advice on student credit cards?
Laura, County Waterford

A Before considering what type of credit options are best for you, your first step should be to budget for the week. Add up any regular income you may have, such as a part-time job or regular allowance, etc. Then list your usual expenses, such as transportation, lunches, books and stationery, as well as social expenses (such as nights out with friends).

Sticking to a budget can make a huge difference to your finances and can help you decide what’s really important and what can be left out. If you find that you are spending beyond your means, take a look at the expense calculator on This will help you determine where you can cut back and what you can cut back – to help you save a little more for your travel plans.

Budget as best you can – to avoid relying on credit to finance your lifestyle. If you have a credit card, reduce how often you use it to cover your daily expenses. The temptation may be to only pay off your minimum credit card balance each month, but it will cost you a lot of interest and it may take you several years to pay off a large balance.

If you have a credit card, make sure you get one with the lowest interest rate possible – with no annual fees and just enough credit limit to get you through in an emergency.

There are a few small steps you can take to help keep your debt to a minimum and make sure your future credit rating isn’t affected. Number one: keep your credit limit low and don’t think of it as a spending goal. Second: Reduce the credit limit to an amount that you can comfortably afford to pay off each month – so you don’t get into debt that you can’t pay off. Third: Do not use your card for cash withdrawals except in an emergency, as you will have to pay a high interest rate (often from the day you withdraw the money) as well as fees. ‘cash advance. Fourth: Set up a monthly standing order or direct debit for the minimum monthly repayment, (or more if you can afford it) to avoid late payments on your credit card bill. Late payments can also show up on your credit history and can affect your ability to borrow in the future.

We are not happy with our new broadband plan

Q I recently signed a new contract with a broadband service provider, but it wasn’t long before I realized the plan was not meeting my family’s needs. I’ve been trying to reach his helpline for almost a week now, but it rings. I am afraid that the withdrawal period will elapse before my arrival. What can I do?
Sean, County Cork

A I assume you have signed up for this online service. When you register for an online service, you have a number of rights under the Consumer Rights Directive. For example, you have the right to change your mind and cancel your contract within 14 days of signing up, without having to pay a penalty or cancellation fee. You do not have to give a reason for the cancellation, but you may need to pay the cost of returning any equipment to the broadband service provider, which in this case may be such items as a modem, cables and accessories. If you choose to cancel, the provider is legally obligated to reimburse you within 14 days. The refund should also include any delivery charges you had to pay.

Under consumer protection law, online service providers must explain the cancellation process to you in advance and ensure that there is a clear and easy way to contact them – so that you can exercise your right of cancellation within the 14-day period. They are therefore not allowed to make it difficult for you to inform them that you wish to terminate your contract. When an online service provider insists that you call a helpline to cancel, then they must provide that service.

Online service providers should also detail their contact details on their website, including an email address. This is to ensure that you have a clear and easy way to communicate with them if, for example, you cannot speak to someone through their helpline number. Alternatively, you can send a letter by post or even a fax, clearly stating that you wish to terminate your contract. Either way, you need to act quickly, so make sure you let them know as early as possible within 14 days.

Keep track of all communication you have with the service provider, in case something goes wrong. If you are sending a letter, be sure to send it by registered mail.

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