How to return Christmas presents

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving but what it you don’t like what you receive? Can you send it back? The truth is that the answer depends on what the item is and how it was purchased from, but basically you can return unwanted Christmas presents.

No obligation

Legally retailers don’t have to accept returned items unless they’re faulty or not fit for purpose. Most retailers ignore this and offer returns as a goodwill to their customers. Around Christmas time this policy creates lots of returned items but accepting them is far better than receiving bad publicity. If Santa bought the item for you online, you have further rights thanks to the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This act makes sure that the trader gives you a refund as long as the item’s returned to them. You might find that software with a broken seal, food and drink and other perishable items may not be returnable.

Returning a gift

You’ll need proof of purchase to return an item. If it was bought online, you’ll need to know the date on which it was purchased. To do this you’ll need to get the receipt from the person who bought it for you. It might be really difficult to tell a friend or family member that you want to return their gift, but that’s a necessary evil if you want to send your gift back to the retailer.

Return policy

If you’re the one buying the gift, you should check the returns policy. Most retailers have time limits for the return of non-faulty items (typically 28 days) so it pays to be aware of this when buying presents.

Regift the item

Your other option if you really can’t stand the present and you haven’t the heart to ask for the receipt, is to regift the present to someone else. Just make sure that person’s not from the same circle of friends or the original buyer might find out. Your best option if you're giving rather than receiving and you're worried about getting something your loved one will want is to give money or vouchers.

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