Christmas comes early with free legal adviceOne week’s free advice on Christmas legal issues

04 December 2011

Unwanted gifts

Goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose

Lawyers from Which? Legal Service will be answering your Christmas consumer rights queries online from Monday 5 to Friday 9 December.

If you're unsure of your legal rights if your presents don't arrive in time or aren't as described, or your right to return gifts, our lawyers are on hand to answer your questions.

Consumers will be able to post their Christmas legal issue on the Which? Legal website, where our team of expert lawyers will share their advice.

Christmas shopping rights

When you buy goods, you enter into a contract with the seller of those goods - the retailer, not the manufacturer. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

Be aware that while a retailer may have a legal obligation to repair or replace faulty goods, its general returns policy is at the shop's discretion. This means that if you're buying gifts it's worth checking the shop's policy to see if they'll exchange or refund unwanted gifts.

Ask our lawyers questions such as:

  • What should I look out for when buying items online?
  • Should I use a credit card to make my Christmas purchases?
  • What do I do if my family member needs to return their gift?

Which? shopping tip

Make sure you ask for a gift receipt that will allow the recipient to return it to the shop.

If you can't get a gift receipt, write ''gift for [name]" on the normal receipt, and get the retailer to accept this by signing it. The recipient should then be able to take it back if they need to.

Which? Legal Service

Which? Legal service currently offers over 80,000 members unlimited expert legal advice on consumer rights and employment. The advice is available by phone or email from experienced lawyers at an affordable price.

The service covers a wide range of everyday topics, including employment issues, holidays from hell, cowboy builders, parking fines and how to return faulty goods.

Which? Legal Service has also launched Which? Wills, an easy and affordable online will-writing service fully supported by telephone access to specialist wills solicitors.

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