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One in seven receive unwanted Christmas gift

What are your rights for returning unwanted presents?


The first week back in January is expected to be a bustling returns period, with the belief that ‘take-back Tuesday’ will be the busiest day of the year for Christmas gift returns both online and in store.

Last year, one in seven people received a Christmas present they did not want or could not use, according to a recent survey by finance firm ING International.

Research among 13,500 people across Europe estimated that millions of unwanted gifts were being given out, worth billions of pounds.

Read our advice for returning unwanted gifts.

Returning unwanted gifts

While the most common response to receiving an unwanted gift was to keep it anyway, one in four decided to pass it on to someone else and one in seven sold it.  

One in 10 even reported that they had actually tried to return the gift for a refund.

If you are trying to give an unwanted Christmas gift back this year, you will be pleased to know that most UK retailers have an extended and generous ‘season of goodwill’ returns policy for unwanted goods after the festive period.

However, it is worth noting that high street retailers are under no legal obligation to accept an unwanted item unless it is specified in their returns policy.

Discover which Christmas gifts you can and can’t return.

Proof of purchase

If you want to return a gift that wasn’t purchased by you, you’ll need proof of purchase and the best way to do this is with a gift receipt.

If you weren’t given one with your gift, you will need to ask the person who bought it for you if they have one.

This is because the contract of sale is between the person who purchased the gift and the retailer.

It is also helpful to keep the item in its original packaging with tags – especially if the item is unwanted and not faulty.

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.

Read more about the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

More protection online

When you buy goods online you have additional rights to return them as online purchases are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

This is because your decision may be based on a brief description or a photograph – so what you receive isn’t always quite what you’d expected.

You have the right to return your order up to 14 days from the day you receive your goods.

Faulty goods

You are covered under the Consumer Rights Act if your item is faulty.

You are entitled to a refund within 30 days, or thereafter a repair or replacement. If the item is unable to be repaired or replaced, you will be entitled to a refund again.

More on this…

• What to do if your product is faulty
• Use our Faulty Goods Complaint Tool to make a claim
• Your rights if you want to return an item bought from another EU country

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