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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 10 Nov 2021

I want to return an unwanted gift

High street shops aren’t obliged to accept returns unless an item is faulty, not as described or is unfit for purpose, but many provide a ‘goodwill’ returns policy.
Which?Editorial team

Returning a gift not bought by you

If you received the item as a gift, you'll need proof of purchase if you want to return it and get a replacement or refund.

The best way to do this is with a gift receipt. If you weren’t given one with your gift, you’ll need to ask for the receipt from the person who bought it for you.

Key Information

High street shops don’t have to allow you to return an item simply because you change your mind or don't want it. But if a shop has a returns policy, it has to stick to it. You’ll also need proof of purchase in order to return your unwanted gift.

Returning a gift bought online

If it was bought online, over the phone or by mail order, the person buying the gift may have additional rights to return it under the Consumer Contracts Regulations

But you may need to ask the person who bought it for you to return it. 

For example, you need to know the date the gift was received by the person who bought it.

However difficult it may be to tell a loved one that a gift isn’t right, just remember that there is only so much space in the back of your wardrobe to store unwanted presents!

Should I accept a credit note or voucher?

The retailer could have a returns policy that states customers will only receive a credit note or vouchers.  

But this must only apply where customers have simply changed their mind or have bought the wrong colour or size, etc.

The exception is for most items bought at a distance (e.g. online or mail order) where the Consumer Contracts Regulations give you a cancellation period that starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods.

The seller’s returns policy can't require customers to take vouchers where an item has been returned because it has a problem. 

For example, it was faulty, not up to the job it was designed to do or it wasn’t as described. 

The Consumer Rights Act (which replaced the Sale of Goods Act in October 2015) specifies the rights that consumers have if products develop a fault and the seller can’t remove or reduce these. 

If you are looking to return your item because it is faulty, read our guide on what to do if you need to return a faulty product.