What to do with the ghost of Christmas Present?

Have you received an unwanted present? What do you do now?

See Christmas presents, returns – your rights.  If you can’t ask the present giver for the receipt, or you don’t know where the item was bought and there is no way of returning the item you got for Christmas, what can you do with it?

Four money bloggers take a look at what you could do:

Helen Dewdney

 

Helen Dewdney The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide (that’s me that is!)

 

photo of Faith Archer

 

 

Faith Archer of Much More with Less

 

photo of Emily

 

Emily Rowley of A Thrifty Fox

 

 

photo of Hollie

 

Hollie Gregersen of Thrifty Mum

 

 

1) Regift – we bloggers say first, of course! But make a note of who gave it to you, so you don’t give it back! (Although my mother once gave a little book of friendship to someone. She even handwrote a message on the first page. the woman gave the book back to her with the page torn out! I kid you not!) Keep them with the bargains that you buy throughout the year as gifts for various people and events!

2) Recycle – (e.g. clothes bank) they also suggest.

3) Donate to charity – I like to donate unwanted items and there’s more than the obvious charity shop. Towels, duvets and bed linen can be donated to a homeless charity or pet rescue (many places won’t take duvets but pet rescues will take for making into dog beds!) Look at Freecycle too. There are 5,314 groups with 9,140,031 members around the world, and local to you. Run by volunteers it enables people to donate to local people who will give your item a loving home and keep things out of landfill as people find different uses for similar items!

4) Fundraisers – Donate for a tombola or raffle, such as your child’s school. All PTAs welcome good raffle prizes! If there are lots of small gifts suitable for children, consider keeping them for next year and making up a box for next year’s shoebox appeal.

5) Foodbanks – If not Christmassy and has a good “eat by” date on it, give to your local foodbank. Many are grateful for toiletries too. And don’t forget to donate to the foodbank throughout the year. Ideas of how to help at very low cost here.

6) Upcycle – Faith suggests using hampers as very useful storage boxes or bins, as examples.

7) Sell – Faith also recommends selling on auction sites or car boot as the item is, or upcycled to make more money! And to sell free of charges, try a garage sale, Facebook Marketplace/local groups or Gumtree. Zeek (that’s an affiliate link so if you use it and register at no cost then you and I should both get a payment!) is a marketplace website/app where gift cards can be bought and sold.  Sellers can set their own price and the bigger the discount, the faster the voucher sells. See Looking a Gift Card in the mouth? for more information about gift cards and what to look out for.

8) Rent – Faith adds that renting is growing in popularity. Some people are now hiring out a range of things, such as baby items, power tools and clothes. Look into doing it yourself or join in with existing budding entrepreneurs!

9) Council – Emma advises checking with your local council social services department, as many will redistribute toys to a toy library or homeware to a family in need.

10) Swap or swish – These are great, enthuses Hollie! This is where you can take good condition clothes and jewellery and swap. Organise an event yourself or search online to find a local one. Multi Coloured Swap Shop is back for adults!

Another idea: Perhaps this year is the year that you have a chat with people about reducing the present buying next time?!

How to look a Gift Horse in the mouth…

Know your rights on unwanted Christmas gifts

2 wrapped presents on green background can I return this please?

Over the Christmas period many of us will be given presents that sadly we don’t want.

I’ve been answering questions from consumers about what their rights are.

1) Will stores take back any item?
There is no legal obligation for any trader to give a refund or exchange for an item (unless it has breached consumer law often referred to as “your statutory rights”). Many of the larger companies will do though out of good faith and because it makes them appear customer-friendly!

2) Do all stores have an extended return policy over Christmas time, or do I need to check first?
There is no legal obligation for a trader to do this (unless the item is faulty) so you should check on the receipt or on the company’s website.

3) Is there a way that I can get around ‘exchange-only’ or ‘store-credit-only’ policies?
If the item is faulty or not as described then these policies are illegal, as they breach the Consumer Rights Act 2015. If there is no problem with the item then be grateful for the exchange or store credit, as it is more than the store is obliged to legally do.

Christmas jumper on green background unwanted present your rights

4) If an item has been reduced in the sale, can I demand that I am refunded the full price paid for an item?
No, you will need to prove that the full price was paid. The proof will be your receipt.

5) What are my rights if the item is faulty?
You will still need a proof of purchase but under the Consumer Rights Act you are entitled to items of “satisfactory quality”. If the item is returned within 30 days of purchase, the retailer must give you a full refund. After 30 days the retailer can offer a repair or exchange.

6) Are my rights different if the item was bought online?
If the item was bought within 14 days and you can ask the giver for the receipt you can then return the item. Whether you have to pay return postage or not will depend on the terms and conditions of the website. However, if the item is faulty you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act in the same way as above and you would be able to reclaim the cost of the return postage. Some items are not covered by the cooling off period, such as bespoke items, flowers, fresh food.

7) I ordered an item online for a present but it came too late. Am I stuck with it?
Not necessarily. If you paid for a delivery to arrive before Christmas then you are entitled to your money back. If the item had no set delivery date but took over 30 days, that would be deemed unreasonable and so again you could expect a refund. You have the 14-day cooling off period mentioned above but if the company did not meet its obligations for delivery then you are entitled to the cost of delivery and return for the item. Your Rights, Mail Order, Online and Deliveries.

If you are unable to return the item, please think about regifting or donating to charity. More ideas for what to do with unwanted presents see What to do with the ghost of Christmas Present?

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

If you are struggling to return an item or have received poor service and can’t get redress check out the Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

and GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

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Christmas presents, returns – your rights

Christmas presents returns your rights on blue and white contrasting background So, the jumper doesn’t fit, you don’t like the hideous ornament that your aunt bought. What can you do?

  1. If the item is not faulty the store is under no legal obligation to refund or exchange with or without proof of postage, but many of the big stores will
  2. If you are the giver and taking something back with your proof of purchase and the store will refund or exchange remember that although the store may do this, there may be a time frame for returns, so if you bought a bargain in the Summer, the store may not refund/exchange or will only give a gift card.
  3. If the item is faulty you still have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and so long as you have proof of purchase you are entitled to refund/repair or replacement depending on when the item was bought.
  4. If the store takes back items without proof of postage, you will be given the price that the item is at that time, so if in the sale that’s the price you will get
  5. If the giver has given you a gift receipt it should mean that the store will give you a refund, but again likely to be on a gift card.
  6. As the store is under no legal obligation to give you a refund for non faulty items it is likely you will be given a gift card if anything.
  7. If you get a gift card Looking a Gift Card in the mouth? provides some important information you need to know!

Christmas shopping all wrapped up with Ten Top Tips

 

 

Christmas shopping can be a stressful time – who to buy for and what to buy them? Where are the bargains? What to do if the recipient doesn’t like what you have bought? What happens if you change your mind? What can you do if there’s a delay in an order?

Here are my Top 10 tips for ensuring you know and use your rights when shopping for Christmas presents and in the sales!

 

Change of mind
 1) When purchasing something as a gift, get a gift receipt. Stores do not have to take anything back and give a refund or exchange just because you changed your mind (or in this case the recipient doesn’t like it) but many do and are more likely to do so with a receipt (or any proof of purchase). Many shops will also need this for an exchange too.

2) Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, consumers have 14 days cooling off period for changing their minds when buying something not on the retailer’s premises. There are some exceptions to this, such as bespoke items. Whether or not return postage has to be paid depends on the trader’s terms and conditions.

Delivery
3) Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. If one hasn’t been agreed (you have agreed a time frame if the listing supplies a time frame) the trader must deliver ‘without undue delay’ and at the very latest no more than 30 days from the day after the contract is made. After this time you are entitled to a full refund.

4) You are entitled to any out-of-pocket expenses if the company don’t turn up when they say they will, such as recompense for time taken off work. See here.

5) Your contract is always with the retailer to whom you gave the money. It is NOT the courier, unless you have paid your money directly to the courier. Always insist on redress from the retailer company, so that IT can get the money back from the courier!

Faulty goods
6) Your purchases are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and you have 30 days from the date of purchase to demand a refund if the item is not of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, doesn’t last a reasonable length of time or match the description. After this time the trader can offer a repair or replacement. So you can check the item or give a gift receipt with the present.

7) These rights also apply to digital goods although the 30 day rule does not apply to non tangible digital goods such as downloads.

8) Your rights remain the same in the sales unless a known fault was pointed out at the time of purchase.

Christmas meals out
9) When you have a works or office Christmas meal you also have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Your meal should be of satisfactory quality and of a similar price to a comparable establishment. If you are not happy with it don’t eat it and take photographic evidence should you need to complain later. You can refuse replacement courses and claim a refund. More here.

10) When you have made a booking for a hotel/restaurant for a Christmas “do” you are entitled to that booking! If it isn’t honoured speak to the manager about immediate compensation, such as free drinks, whilst you wait for your table. If this can’t be done and you have to make alternative arrangements, the establishment is liable for any out of pocket expenses you may incur.

If you need to complain follow these Top Tips.

And see How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results, for load of advice, information, tips, templates and your consumer rights!

How to Use Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974

So few people use the Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Even people who think they know their legal rights rely on the Sale of Goods Act. However, what if the company goes bust that you bought the item from? No money in the company to pay you back. That’s where the Section 75 rather usefully comes into play. Buy something for over £100 and under £30,000 and you are covered. (You don’t need to spend the full amount) Covered how? Well…..

A few years ago we had some curtains made with a furniture and furnishings company. We paid the deposit on a credit card. The company wanted cash for the remainder. We wouldn’t pay the cash. Even though we would have been covered because we used the credit card we knew something was wrong and if they were going to fleece customers by getting cash and not declaring it to receivers at a later point we would not let them get away with it! Eventually guess who won? So the curtains were put up. As suspected they weren’t good enough.

Nope, not good enough
Nope, not good enough

If you look closely, not as the dust(!) but at the slight differentiation in colour you might agree with me that the curtains were not good enough. As expected, as soon as we tried to get our money back, we could not get any response. Had we have given them cash they would have done a runner with it one assumes and many people who were left out of pocket I’m sure would be pleased that at least the owners didn’t pocket over £1,000 in cash.

So, I contacted the credit card company. It isn’t always as easy as just them paying up. I had to get an independent report. (That was good, the chap forgot to bill us!)  I then had to return the curtains to the warehouse. Quite ridiculous given that we knew that no-one was there but the credit card company insisted. So we sent, them back via a courier company (which messed up the delivery by not doing it within specified time and I got my money back for that too!) Anyway, the curtains were brought back to us as undeliverable. Credit card company paid up, we got curtains, not perfect but hey they were free!

If a holiday company goes bust, or a store sells you a faulty cooker etc., it is easier to prove so the process of getting your money back will be easier. I had to prove that under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 the items were not satisfactory, which I did, obviously!

You can use this Law even when a company hasn’t gone bust. That said, it is easier to go straight to the retailer. If the retailer doesn’t pay up you can always go to court like I do, that’s fun. Remember that a debit card does NOT cover you in the same way as a credit card does. Also useful to know is that this Act covers store cards. If the credit card company refuses to help report it to the Financial Ombudsman.

Have you used Section 75?