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?
Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, blogger and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results, shares her top ten 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.
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!
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.