Returning Gifts: Your Rights

Server: Broken

If you’ve received a gift this Christmas that needs returning to the shop, for whatever reason, what are your rights as a shopper?

The BBC outlines the major points, here’s a summary:

  • Unwanted gifts – the store doesn’t have to refund the item by law, so it’s really down to their customer service policy as to whether you can have it refunded or exchanged. 
  • Broken gifts – if you receive something which is broken or faulty when you first get it, the shop where you purchased it should sort the problem out, not the manufacturer (which some shops will tell you to contact, rather than them). With the receipt, you should be eligible for a refund or get the item repaired or replaced.
  • Faults that appear later – if you realise the item is faulty or broken within 6 months of purchase (following “normal” use) then the onus is on the retailer (and again not the manufacturer) to dispute the claim. After 6 months, the onus is on the buyer to prove that the item was faulty when purchased. 

Having the receipt is naturally a big plus in all of these cases, although a credit/debit card statement might also be useful, that’s if you’ve got access to one if it’s a gift from someone else, which is probably unlikely.

If the goods are purchased online, you might have even more rights, as those sales are subject to the “Distance Selling Regulations”. This allows you 7 days to change your mind about a product regardless of whether it’s faulty or not (this does not apply for purchases from private individuals or auctions, so eBay buys are included here).

Finally, if you get no joy from the store itself, then it’s worth contacting their head office to see if they’ll help, and if you still have no luck complaining to them, you can take your case to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Trading Standards or Consumer Direct.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Aaron Gustafson

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