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28 Dec 2019

'I got a value bar of soap from Asda' - one in four receive unwanted Christmas presents

Will you turn your unwanted Christmas presents into quick cash this year or bravely confess your disapproval?

Last Christmas, they gave you a gift. But the very next day, you gave it away.

At least that's what most people told us they did with their unwanted Christmas gifts last year.

Our survey, which questioned 2,071 people, found that more than a quarter received a present they didn't want.

Only one in 20 admitted to the gift-giver that they didn't want it and asked them to return it.

Slightly more preferred to try and discreetly return the offending item themselves to get store credit.

What people did with their unwanted gifts

And more than half chose to quietly regift, throw away or donate unwanted presents to charity, rather than return or exchange them.

A handful of people decided to help cover the cost of Christmas by selling the gifts they didn't want.

  • 27% donated to charity
  • 26% gave it to someone else as a gift
  • 8% sold their gift
  • 5% threw it in the bin
  • 2% customised or up-cycled it into something they liked

Christmas's most unwanted

Some of those questioned told us what disappointing presents they unwrapped last Christmas:

  • 'A ceramic cow for storing kitchen sponges next to the sink.'
  • 'A vegan cheese-making kit. I'm not vegan and I don't like cheese.'
  • 'Sweets and chocolates - I'm diabetic.'
  • 'A value bar of soap from Asda'
  • 'A zebra-print doormat'
  • 'An iron'

Deodorant sets and bath bombs were among the most unwanted presents according to the survey.

CDs were also particularly unpopular, mostly because those who received them told us they don't actually own a CD player.

How to return unwanted Christmas gifts

Without a receipt, it's difficult to get an exchange or credit voucher for something you don't like. You almost certainly won't get a refund.

This applies whether the gift was bought online or in store.

This probably explains why so many in our survey gave their unwanted presents away or sold them.

If you want something else, your best bet is to be honest and ask the giver to return it for you. Fingers crossed they have held on to the receipt.

If you really don't want to ask, or the receipt has been lost, find out what the retailer's returns policy is. You might be able to ask for an exchange.

Our guide on your rights to return will help you find out if you can take something back.

How do gift receipts work?

Many stores offer gift receipts around Christmas, but what do they actually entitle you to?

They usually only allow you to get an exchange or gift vouchers, but it will depend on the store's returns and gift receipt policy (the policy printed on the receipt).

Gift receipts won't usually get you refund. To get money back, the person who bought the gift will have to return it with the original receipt before the end of the store's returns period.

Still not sure if you can return a dodgy Christmas present? Take a look at our guide on how to return an unwanted gift.