The Consumer Lawyer

12 christmas myths

By Dean Dunham – 19 December 2021

Given it’s the last week before the big day it’s a good time for me to highlight and bust the twelve myths of Christmas that I hear every year:

1          Gifts cards are totally safe

WRONG. Gifts cards are actually anything but safe if you buy a card that can only be used with one retailer. The reason for this is that if the retailer goes bust the card will potentially become worthless, unless you have already redeemed it or the liquidator agrees to honour it. It is therefore always best to buy a gift card that can be used with multiple retailers.

2          You cannot return goods without a receipt

WRONG. The law says you simply need to have ‘proof of purchase’ – so the likes of a credit card or bank statement will suffice.

3          You must complain within 30 days

WRONG. If you complain within 30 days you can invoke your ‘short term right to reject’ under the Consumer Rights Act; and therefore demand a refund. However, you can complain at anytime thereafter, up to six years, if the goods are faulty.

4          You must take your complaint to the manufacturer

WRONG. Your complain will always be with the entity you paid your money to and therefore contracted with and this will usually be the retailer. If there is a manufacturers warranty you will ultimately be dealing with the manufacturer but the liability still remains with the retailer.

5          The Consumer Rights Act does not apply when you buy from an individual

WRONG. Whilst it is true you have less rights when you buy from a private individual, you still have one of the basic rights under the Consumer Rights Act for the goods to be ‘as described’.

6          You must have spent £100 to make a section 75 claim

WRONG. Lots of people make this mistake, its actually £100.01.

7          You can make a section 75 claim without complaining to the trader

WRONG. Technically you must complain the retailer first and give it a chance to rectify your issue, before then proceeding to make a section 75 claim.

8          You can never return goods purchased instore just because you changed your mind

WRONG. Ordinarily this is correct but in many cases this is not so at Christmas, as many retailers have special Christmas returns policies that allow for this.

9          You must pay the cost of returning a faulty gift

WRONG. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says if goods are faulty the trader must pay for the cost of returning the goods or must collect them.


10        Only the person who purchased the gift can return it

WRONG. This is why we have gift receipts, a receipt that proves the goods were purchased but redacts the price paid. So long as proof of purchase can be produced and the goods are either faulty or if not faulty within the ‘returns period’, the retailer must accept the return.

11        You cant return goods that have been wrapped up

WRONG. This really is an excuse I’ve heard many times! The general rule is that goods must be returned in pristine condition and with the packaging in a saleable condition. So if the packaging is damaged when wrapping a present there may be an argument here for the trader but generally this is not a good excuse to reject a return.

12        Consumer Rights have been reduced during the Covid pandemic

WRONG. This is probably the biggest myth of all this year. I’ve been hearing stories daily from readers who have been told that the likes of the Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Contracts Regulations do not fully apply due to the pandemic. This will never be the case unless we have an act of parliament making this so – which in my view will never happen just because we have a pandemic.

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