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Tis the most wonderful time of the year… or is it? If nothing else, it’s certainly the most expensive time of the year.  It’s estimated that an average British family will spend over £800 on Christmas with nearly £500 to be spent on presents. Inevitably, that will lead to some faulty products being bought or unwanted. What rights do you have, then, if you buy or receive presents which are unwanted or at faulty?

Christmas Shopping There is an important distinction to be drawn between unwanted gifts and faulty gifts as the law treats consumers in different ways.

Unwanted gifts

In general terms, if you have bought a gift which is unwanted, you do not have an automatic right to return gifts bought on the high street. Whilst most retailers will have a returns policy, especially at Christmas, there is no requirement for them to do so. If the retailer has a returns policy, they must honour it. The easiest way to find out whether the retailer has a returns policy is to ask at the till, but alternatively, there may be information printed on the receipt.

Of course, not all gifts can be returned, namely, perishable items such as food and flowers and “made to order” gifts.

In order to return an unwanted gift, you will usually need a receipt or gift receipt, although that it not always necessary. You can simply take proof of purchase, such as showing a bank statement proving the money left your account.

Faulty gifts

With faulty goods, the starting point to note is that all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. You will almost always have a right to a refund, repair or replacement product if the original product is found to be faulty. One exception to that general rule is that you would not have such a right if you knew about the fault prior to buying the item.

It is also worth noting that you are entitled to a refund on faulty goods for thirty days after purchase. Thereafter, you can’t demand a full refund but you do have the right to a repair or replacement. You have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace the goods and thereafter, if that is unsuccessful, you can look to get a full or partial refund.

Have a great Christmas!

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