Millions wasted in 'take back' hassleWhich? calls on retailers to play fair

27 December 2006

A Christmas giftwrap

Over a million people won't be returning unwanted presents this Christmas because it is too much hassle, Which? reveals today.

Our survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK found that an estimated five-and-a-half million people didn't bother taking back unwanted Christmas presents last year.

Of these, around 22 per cent were reluctant to return presents because they believed it was too much trouble to take gifts back.

Shoppers said they encountered numerous problems when trying to return goods, such as being told they needed a receipt and retailers passing the buck to the manufacturer when goods were faulty.

‘Take back hassle’

Joanne Barker, Senior Solicitor at Which? Legal Service said: ‘Shoppers spend billions buying Christmas presents and some retailers just don't play fair when it comes to people trying to return unwanted presents.

‘We think that shops should do more to have clearer and fairer returns policy and certainly should abide by laws when people are trying to take back faulty items.

‘People are wasting millions of pounds because of this 'take back hassle' and our advice is to stand up for your rights and take back unwanted, unsuitable or faulty items.’

Online shopping guide

Which? Legal Service has put together an online shopping guide and it has also put together handy return tips, including:

  • cut down on time and stress by finding out what the returns policy is. If you can't see one in the shop then they probably won't accept returned presents which you don't want
  • you have rights when taking back faulty goods -  you don't need the receipt (proof of purchase can also be used) and, if the item is less than six months old, the retailer is responsible.  Don't get fobbed off if they tell you to go to the manufacturer
  • stand up for your shopping rights. Demand to see the manager if you're not satisfied.