It’s Christmas morning and snow is falling outside, the fire is blazing, and glasses of fizz clink in the background as you tear open your presents. You give a gentle shake and with a final rip, the present is open. It’s another Lynx gift set. Perfect.

We’ve all been in this situation before and had to gratefully receive presents we didn’t really want, awkwardly thanking the present giver and pretending we love it. Afterwards, you’re left with a pile of items in your room that will never see the light of day. So this Christmas, we’re here to give you a one-stop shop on your consumer rights, so you’ll know exactly what returns rights you’re entitled to with presents you’ve bought and received.

Faulty Items

If you’ve bought or been given a faulty gift, you are legally entitled to return it for a refund, repair or replacement within 30 days. If the 30 days has passed, you can still ask for a repair or replacement and if those options fail, you will be allowed a refund.

With faulty items, you may need to ask the buyer of the gift to return it for you as technically the legal contract is between the buyer and seller. Although, at Christmas, some retailers do make it easier to return items without involving the original purchaser.

If you have a faulty item and it’s passed 30 days and you don’t have the receipt, you can find out if the item has a guarantee. This means that the manufacturer promised the item would work for a set time (usually a year) and if it fails you can pursue the manufacturer for what they said in the guarantee – typically a repair or replacement.

Unwanted Items

Surprisingly, stores aren’t actually legally required to accept returns unless they are damaged or not as described. However, many shops still maintain their own returns policy out of goodwill and if they do, they must stick by it. This is where you’ll be able to get a refund, exchange or a credit note.

The most important thing is to double-check the returns policy of the store your gift is from. These are readily available online, in store or by calling customer services. With presents bought online, you are legally entitled to cancel at any point up to 14 days after the order for any reason.

The majority of stores have a time limit for returns (often 28 days), although at Christmas many places extend these so you don’t need to worry as much. John Lewis has one of the best Christmas returns policies, extending it to 90 days.

If you’re returning a gift bought by someone else, you will need proof of purchase. Ideally, you can get a gift receipt from the purchaser but if they didn’t get one you’ll need to ask them for the actual receipt. If the gift was purchased online, you’ll need to get the buyer to return it for you, as there are separate regulations for online returns. Whilst this may be awkward, just think of how much happier you’ll be with a gift more suited to you!

What You’ll Need

Some retailers might only offer exchanges or credit notes, whilst others might provide refunds. In all cases, you’ll need to bring a few things with you.

– A receipt: gift receipt or normal receipt is essential
– Card: if the gift was purchased by debit or credit card and you want a refund, you’ll need the card it was bought on as that’s how they’ll load the refund back on
– The packaging: this is very important and not always done! You’ll need to bring the gift back in all its original packaging.

Hopefully now you’re all clued up on your consumer rights! From all of us here at Fused, we’d like to wish you a Happy New Year!



Caiti Simpson

Student Contributor

Hometown: London
University: Southampton
Course: Politics and International Relations
Most Prized Possession: My two cats!
Most irritating habit: Being on my phone all the time
Favourite life hack: Rolling clothes up when packing to create more space and reduce wrinkles
What’s next?: Teaching English in Vietnam!