From a present you don’t like, to gifts others have already got and shopping in the sales, read our CONSUMER FIGHTBACK guide to your rights
Have you bought someone a Christmas present they didn’t like, received one you’ve already got, or bought something in the sales and realised it’s not quite right?
Christmas presents come and go – as do the sales – at this time of year and when you are buying and receiving lots of gifts, it’s a wise time to know your consumer rights.
Here’s what you need to know for returns, refunds and shopping in the sales from our Consumer Fightback column.
Got a pile of presents that need to go back to the shops, read our guide on your rights
- If you have been given a gift that is not suitable, think about upcycling, donating to charity, such as a foodbank or a shop and regifting. However, if you have been given a gift receipt, you will be able to take the gift back and exchange for something to the same value or a refund, which may be on a gift card.
- If the item is faulty or hasn’t lasted a reasonable length of time or is not as described, then you are entitled to a full refund 30 days from purchase or a repair or replacement after this date. However, you will need a proof of purchase for this. These are your rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
- If you are the giver of a present and are happy to take an item back for your recipient, the store does not have to give you a refund unless the item is in breach of the CRA but it may do so, depending on its policy.
- If the store does take back an item without a receipt then it will give you the current price for the item, even if the price was higher or lower before.
- If you get a refund put on a gift card, check the expiration date. Most cards are only valid for two years, some even less. You can often reactivate a card by just asking the store but the best thing to do is get it spent, so don’t forget.
Shopping in the sales
- Your rights remain the same as buying at any other time, unless the reason for the reduction is given to you at the point of purchase. For example, if an item of clothing has a mark on it, you would not be able to get a refund if you knew that when you bought it.
- When shopping online you have 14 days to change your mind. You do not pay return postage if the item is in breach of the CRA. However, if you return the item due to a change of mind, you may need to pay return postage, depending on the retailer’s terms and conditions.
- Be prepared. Make a list of what you are looking for. Do some research online and put items in the basket ready to click pay if the items get reduced. Use Camel Camel Camel to check that they really are bargains. This site will provide details of the price history for anything sold on Amazon.
- Use cashback sites to save even more on your purchases.
- Use comparison websites and be sure that you are comparing like for like. For example, one retailer may have an item for sale cheaper than another but have added costs such as delivery.
Get help with your problem
Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, writes This is Money’s Consumer Fight Back column.
Helen is the author of best-seller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! and runs The Complaining Cow blog.
Helen Dewdney runs The Complaining Cow site and has written a best-selling book – she is here to help This is Money readers
Helen can help with your consumer complaints. Rather than do all the work for you, she will empower you to gain refunds, repairs, replacements or improved service by explaining how to complain and get results.
If you have a problem you need help solving, please email [email protected] with Consumer Fight Back in the subject line, include a short paragraph about your issue – if we need more details we will get in touch.
If the company fails to act, she will ask them why and what they plan to do.