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Received an unwanted Christmas gift? Your refund rights explained

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
If you’ve received an unwanted Christmas gift, here are your refund and return rights.

Giving or receiving unwanted gifts is part of the Christmas experience. But don’t fret. You might be able to get your money back.

If you bought a gift online…

If you bought an item online, whether it was full price or in the sale, then you are protected by the Consumer Contracts regulations which came into force in June 2014. These state you have 14 calendar days from the moment you received the good to cancel the order and a further 14 days to actually send the item back.

You should get a refund within 14 days of the seller receiving the item and it should include the basic cost of delivery too.

However, some items are excluded from returns such as perishables (food and drink), personalised goods and DVDs, unless they’re faulty, then you can ask the seller for a repair or replacement.

Campaign group Which? says if you buy music or software (so, any digital content), and you find it isn’t good quality, it’s not fit for purpose, or it’s not as described by the seller, you have the right to a repair or replacement. If the issue still isn’t resolved, you can ask for a partial or full refund.

If by using the digital content a device is ruined as a result, (so, if a dodgy DVD ruins your DVD player), then the seller has to compensate you for that too, as long as you can provide evidence.

If you received a gift from someone and you know it was bought online, you will need to ask the person who bought it to return it for you.

If you bought a gift in-store…

If you bought an item in-store and then changed your mind, your refund rights may vary depending on which store you shopped in.

Unfortunately, you’re not entitled to an automatic refund, although some stores may offer you all your money back. Others may offer you an exchange or credit note so it’s usually best to read up on the policy before you buy and check whether there’s a time limit – many state 28 days.

According to campaign group Which?, shops aren’t required by law to have a returns policy, but if they, do, they must stick to it. Sometimes, especially at Christmas, the policy may be extended so you might have more time than you think.

Returning an unwanted gift with a gift receipt will make things easier. So try and get the receipt from the gifter if you can.

When returning an item in-store, take the card it was paid for with, especially if you want a refund as it’s often credited back to the original card.

Which? adds that you should take the original packing too: “Don’t underestimate the importance of taking the item’s original packaging with you, even down to the pesky cable ties”.

If you are buying someone a gift, it’s worth requesting a gift receipt so the receiver will be able to return the item, rather than you having to go back to the shop.

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