How do I return unwanted Christmas presents?

It’s always hard to contain your disappointment when you get unwanted Christmas presents that you just don’t need or have any use for. You put on a brave face, fake a smile and thank auntie Angela whilst thinking about just how you can get rid of it. What if you’ve been waiting to see a family member light up on Christmas Day, only to find out that they already have whatever it is you bought them The good news is that there are ways that can prevent us all from being stuck with unwanted gifts.

Unwanted Christmas Presents

In terms of legality, you aren’t entitled to return an item or product if it isn’t faulty in any way, it’s not within your Customer Rights. Whether or not a business does give you a refund, partially or fully is entirely up to them. They can choose to refund you electronically, with cash or to give you store credit/vouchers.

What if the item was bought online?

Thankfully, if an item was bought over some distance; online, over-the-phone or similar, there is an extra layer of protection. You have 14 days from the point of purchase to inform the seller that you intend to return the item. This gives you an additional 14 days to actually return it. There doesn’t need to be any faults, as long as you don’t want it and it isn’t perishable or personalised.

This doesn’t extend to you as the recipient of the gift though. In most instance, payment will be returned to the original source which is usually a credit card or bank account. In some instances, if you return the item to a store, you may receive only a credit note. Essentially, if you want to return an item bought online, it’s best to do so in co-operation with the person who bought it for you.

What if I don’t have the receipt?

Whether or not a company chooses to give you a refund if you don’t have the receipt is up to them. The best course of action is definitely to try and get the receipt from the buyer if you can.

Alternatively, if the gift turns out to be faulty, you don’t need a receipt in order to return it. All you need in that case if proof of purchase, such as bank account or credit card statements. Many companies have their own, often more generous, policies that might benefit you.

Other options

Of course we would recommend that if it’s possible to try to avoid the pressure of getting a refund for your unwanted Christmas presents over the busy Christmas period, that’s the best scenario. If you know someone that you could donate the present to, be it a family member or charity, if you can forward the gift onto somebody that can use it, try to do that first.

Nobody wants to chase up companies or wait on hold when you’re supposed to be relaxing with family.

Relevant policies/acts

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

Consumer Credit Act 1975 – Section 75

The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013

Distance Selling Regulations



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