No matter how much you know someone, or how much someone knows about you, we all give and receive unwanted gifts from time to time, so here's our tips on returning those distasteful items..
Your right to return
Surprisingly, high street store are under no obligation to accept a return unless one of three criteria are filled – the item is faulty, not as described or unfit for it's purpose.
That being said, most retailers offer a returns policy as a goodwill gesture, and will at least offer an exchange or store credit, if not a full refund. Furthermore a lot of major retailers extend their policy during the Christmas period to give customers greater flexibility for returns.
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you have additional rights for purchases made online, by mail or over the phone. This is due to the fact that there is a greater opportunity for retailers to misrepresent items when selling by proxy, with photographs that are unrepresentative of the item being sold and written descriptions. As per the Consumer Contracts Regulations, any online purchases you've made can be cancelled up to 14 days after the good have been received.
Check The Returns Policy First
If you're buying presents for someone which you feel may get returned, you should check the merchant's returns policy before making a purchase. Assuming that the store has a policy in place, it has to honour it for all customers, so be sure to check the return details to make sure that it's not too restrictive.
Most retailers impose a time limit for returning non-faulty items. Generally this will be a minimum of 28 days, but you should find that some retailers extend this over the festive period.
Returning A Gift You've Received
If you receive a gift you don't like and don't mention anything, you may receive similar related gifts for years to come! It may be difficult to tell a loved one that you want to return your item, but it's unlikely you'll be able to do so without proof of purchase.
If you're lucky the gift giver may have included a gift receipt which acts as proof of purchase without actually revealing the value of the item. With this you can simply return the item to the store for an exchange or refund.
If the item was bought online you may need to ask the person who bought it to return it, as it's likely that any exchange or refund will have to be processed with their bank/credit card, via their user account with the merchant.
There are a few things you can't return, and these are for fairly obvious reasons:
•Digital Media – DVDs, Music, Games etc: Many retailers will not accept a return once the packaging or seal has been broken with. Furthermore, digital downloads cannot be returned unless faulty.
•Perishable Items – Unless the item violates the Sales of Good Act (e.g. it's 'faulty'), perishable goods cannot be returned.
•Custom Made – If an item has been personalised or made to order, it cannot be returned unless there is a problem with it, such as being faulty or not to the agreed specification