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Stay savvy when shopping in the sales this year

Reduced prices don’t mean reduced shopping rights


Shopping in the Boxing Day sales is a key part of the Christmas season. But do you know what you can and can’t return? 

The majority of the January sales start today and shopping is one of our top Boxing Day pastimes. While everyone loves a bargain, don’t fall victim of misleading sales or faulty sales products.  

There are , including showing how much prices have been cut, and if a shop is advertising a sale they have to follow government guidelines in order to ensure its genuine.

Christmas sales – what you need to know

There are three key things to look out for when buying in the sales.

  • The original price must be clearly displayed along with the sale price
  • Before reducing prices in a sale, items must have been sold at the higher price for 28 consecutive days in that store immediately before the sale, unless a sign explains the terms of the offer
  • Items shouldn’t be on offer at the sale price for longer than at the higher price, unless the shop has a sign explaining how the sale differs from these rules, or if something is going out of date

Returning faulty sale goods

Under the  you have the right to claim a refund, replacement or repair but only if sale goods or Christmas presents are faulty.

A retailer can’t try to limit your rights in sales. For example, a shop isn’t allowed to display a sign saying ‘no returns on sale items’.  

If you’re returning something faulty you bought in a sale, and within a reasonable time frame (three or four weeks) you should be reimbursed the full amount you paid.

Find out more about how to return faulty sale goods in our guide. 

Returning unwanted gifts

You don’t have a legal right to return something just because you don’t want it.

When we surveyed 400 shoppers earlier this year, only 24% knew they’re not entitled to a refund, exchange or credit note when .

Shops are not legally required to offer one of these options as part of their returns policy, but most do.

High street shops don’t legally have to accept a returned item unless it’s faulty, not as described or is unfit for purpose.

Make sure you check the returns policy before you buy. Shops don’t have to have a returns policy, but if they have one they must stick to it.

There are also some returns exceptions worth knowing about. Many retailers refuse returns of DVDs, music and computer software, perishable items and made or order items

More on this…

  • See the best deals in one place in our January sales guide
  • Know your rights when buying goods under the Sale of Goods Act
  • Find out how to bargain in shops
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