Christmas Latest News

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. These are your rights under Consumer Contract Regulations. 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?


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!



What are your rights when returning items at Christmas?

Sign up for the newsletter to keep up to date with the latest consumer news

Business Latest News Laws

Harrods customers try to bag a bargain – but can they keep it?

Website glitch shows ridiculously low prices for handbags

Ha! Harrods glitch! The Evening Standard reported that Harrods Aspinal handbags, normally retailing at £950, were on sale on their website for £8. They sold out (pretty quickly!)

The Standard also reported that fine Italian leather handbags, which would have usually cost several hundred pounds, were listed at less than £5. One £250 pure leather tote bag cost just £2.13, while the brand’s Marylebone tote bag, usually costing £950, was on sale for just £8.08.

Does the retailer have to honour the wrongly marked up price?

So, does Harrods have to honour these prices and ship the orders?

In a word, sadly, NO. It is a common misconception see 7 consumer rights misconceptions (and what they are really)

1 Aspinal handbag full price £950 and one at £8.08


Many people wrongly believe that if something is marked up at a certain price then that is the price you pay. The price label is actually just an “invite to treat”, in legal terms. This means that it is open to negotiation between the two parties. Sorreeeee!

In some cases, it may be that traders’ terms and conditions state that the contract has been entered into once payment has been taken and you receive the confirmation email.

However, in the Harrods’ terms and condition it states:

“When you place an order, we will send you an acknowledgement email to let you know that we have received your order. This is not an order confirmation or acceptance. We will request pre-authorisation against your payment card at this stage.

We will send you a confirmation email to confirm that your order has been dispatched for delivery. This is confirmation and acceptance of your order. Your payment card will be charged on dispatch.”

So, unless you have received a confirmation email to say that your item has been dispatched, you can be pretty sure that Harrods will not honour the sale on these apparent bargains.

I have asked Harrods for comment and whether they will be offering customers a goodwill gesture to make up for the disappointment! As yet I haven’t heard anything…

The cynic in me wonders if this was all a publicity stunt? Why haven’t they put out a statement yet? Are they just waiting for the story to spread a bit more?

If you fancy writing to the Harrods CEO catch his email address here at (where you can find any CEO contact details!)




For more on your consumer rights, advice, information, tips and template letters get the book!

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