Know your rights on unwanted Christmas gifts
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.
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!
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