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Boxing Day shoppers head online: know your rights on returns

If you avoided the crowds on Boxing Day and bought an item online that isn't what you expected, know your shopping rights to return it.

Visitors to shops in the 2017 Boxing Day sales has fallen according to retail experts. But there’s been an increase in terms of online purchases, which along with the growth of Black Friday, is having an adverse effect on the traditional sales extravaganza.

On 26 December, footfall to stores fell by 4.5% against last year, with the high street and department stores seeing the biggest decline, according to research firm Springboard.

More shoppers than ever before are choosing to do their shopping online, but with a ‘buy now and decide later’ approach to shopping, it’s essential you know your rights before clicking ‘buy’.

Best and worst online shops – we reveal the best online shops as voted for by 10,500 shoppers.

The best time to bag a bargain

In general, one in five items bought in shops is returned. But this figure is much higher for online purchases, with one in three going back for a refund.

With the increase in online shopping this Christmas, retail experts are suggesting early January will be the best time to get your hands on a sales bargain.

It’s thought that this will be when the majority of returned items will reappear back on shelves. Possibly with much higher reductions than seen on Black Friday.

Head to our Boxing Day and January sales hub to find expert tips on deals to look out for and ones to be wary of this winter.

The end of Boxing Day sales?

A record-breaking £1.4bn was spent online in the UK on Black Friday in November 2017 – up 11.7% on the previous year.

Our research has found that retailers now start discounting a week before the last Friday in November, and continue this right up to until Christmas.

Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard, told the BBC that this is part ‘a structural shift in the Christmas trading period’.

‘The hotspots for Christmas trading around Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are dissipating,’ she added.

Shoppers are less likely to want to head out to battle the crowds and cold weather on Boxing Day. However, the shift to online shopping is also expected to boost the 24-hour Boxing Day sales period, with an increase in online sales expected to eclipse the 6.2% boost seen in 2016.

Online shopping returns: Your rights

Under the Consumer Rights Act, high street shops only have to accept a returned item if it’s faulty. However, online purchases are also covered by Consumer Contracts Regulations, giving additional rights to return any items.

This is because you can only base your purchasing decision on a description or photograph, rather than being able to actually see the goods.

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you can return your order up to 14 days from the date you received it. Some online stores offer more time to return items, so do check the terms and conditions before buying.

For more on your rights around online shopping, head over to Which? Consumer Rights.

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