Don't get ripped off in the Christmas sales this yearKnowing your shopping rights could save you money

26 December 2014

Woman shopping in the Christmas sales

New Which? research has revealed that 44% of people don't know that you can return a faulty item bought in a sale and get a full refund.

Our survey of 2,070 UK adults in November 2014 found that four in 10 people are planning on shopping in the sales.

Of those intending to bag a bargain, 72% are intending to buy clothes and accessories and 45% are planning to buy CDs, DVDs and computer games.

With Boxing Day sales now a key date in the shopping calendar, it’s important to know that you do have rights and that you know how to use them.

Your rights in a sale

Our survey revealed that younger people are far less likely to know their sale return rights. We found that 67% of 18-24 year olds are unsure, compared to 35% of the over 65s.

If a shop is running a sale, it has to follow certain government rules that ensure it’s a genuine sale.

For example, shops must clearly display the original price along with the sale price so shoppers can see the exact discount they're getting.

But if you change your mind about a product, you may not necessarily be entitled to return it - this will depend on the retailer’s returns policy. If the retailer has a returns policy, it must stick to it.

For more information, see our guide to returning goods.

Shops pushing dodgy deals

A recent Which? investigation found some special offers on electrical goods offer little or no savings at all. 

We tracked prices of electrical goods over the course of six months at Amazon, Argos, Currys and John Lewis and discovered a number of 'deals' where the savings either didn't exist or were much lower than claimed.

For the full story read the shops we have named and shamed

Returning faulty goods

If you buy something that has a fault, it doesn’t matter if you bought it in the sale, you still have rights to return it under the Sale of Goods Act.

The only exception to this rule is if the product is on sale because it has a fault. In this situation, you wouldn't have a right to return it under the Sale of Goods Act. 

The Sale of Goods Act states that goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. 

If something isn't, then you have the right to reject it and get a full refund, as long as you return it within a reasonable length of time - usually three to four weeks. 

If you buy goods online, even if they are bought in a sale, you also have extra protection. Find out more about your online shopping rights at Christmas.

Your delivery rights

One in 10 people in our survey experienced delivery problems last Christmas.

Lateness, items not arriving on time for Christmas and missed time slots were the biggest frustrations people had with their deliveries.

If your items didn’t turn up in time for Christmas, make sure you know your delivery rights.

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