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Six tips for taking xmas presents back

  1. Shops are obliged to take goods back if they were faulty when bought.
  2. But there is no right to ask for a refund or exchange for any other reason e.g. because you just don’t like the jumper with the reindeer or got two copies of Compare the Meerkats, unless (possibly) there was a published refund policy to this effect which the consumer relied on at time of purchase. The position with on-line purchase is slightly different (see 6 below).
  3. Either way, it is the person who bought the present who has the right to take back, not you as the recipient of the gift. Whilst a receipt is not required in law to be produced, in practice proof of purchase is often going to be needed to convince a shop that they should respond either because of legal obligation or as part of ‘goodwill’ refunding. Therefore if the receipt is not to hand then a credit card statement or other evidence should be produced. One way or another that means involving the person who gave you the gift…
  4. If the goods are faulty however, the shop cannot fob you off by saying that the manufacturer is responsible, not them. Your contract is with the shop.
  5. You don’t have to accept a credit note if the goods are faulty.
  6. If the goods were bought on-line, with some exceptions, the purchaser has a right under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 to cancel and return the goods within 7 days unconditionally i.e. even if you just don’t like them (known as ‘cooling off period’) and get a refund.

Anthony Wooding