I cannot believe I am saying this but it’s that time of year when most people start planning their Christmas shopping. Over the next few weeks I will be providing lots of advice and tips in relation to Christmas shopping and your rights. Here’s the first few things you need to be aware of:

  1. Christmas Turkey

Those who pre-order a Christmas Turkey will no doubt be shortly placing their order. Every year I receive a handful of emails and letters asking me “my Christmas Turkey turned up ‘after’ Christmas, what can I do?” . With this in mind, it is important that when you place your order you specifically tell them (in writing) that its for Christmas Day, and tell them when you want it to be delivered. You then need confirmation in writing that they can meet your deadlines.

  1. Christmas presents

When you buy goods online the law provides that you have 14 days from the date of delivery to ‘change your mind’ and ask for a full refund. When you buy in-store, the law is not so generous and so you have to look to see what the retailer’s returns policy says. The problem is that when you purchase presents, the chances are that the 14 day period, and any period specified in the retailer’s returns policy, will have expired. You therefore need to ask the retailer what their policy is on returning Christmas presents just in case the recipient of your gift wishes to return or exchange it.

As with the Christmas turkey, you should also specifically state that you need delivery prior to Christmas. When ordering online, most retailer’s sites have a box headed something like ‘special or delivery instructions’ and this is the place to notify them of your requirements.

  1. Gift receipts

Just about every retailer in the country will refuse to entertain providing a refund for faulty goods or allowing you to exchange goods unless you can present proof of purchase. In this respect most retailers are able to provide gift receipts, which is a proof of purchase but does not state the amount paid. You therefore need to ask for a gift receipt when buying Christmas presents so that you can pass to this on to the recipient of the gift.

If it all goes wrong

If something goes wrong with a Christmas purchase you should complain direct to the retailer first. If they reject your complaint, or simply refuse to respond (you must give them up to eight weeks), you should ask if they will engage with RetailADR. RetailADR is an independent and impartial alternative dispute resolution scheme which is free for consumers to use. For more information click on http://www.retailadr.org.uk

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