The Consumer Lawyer

Your rights on unwanted gifts this Christmas

By Dean Dunham – 26 December 2021

If your Nan has given you coat hangers for Christmas or if your husband has bought you something you really do not like, you will need to know your Christmas present return rights. If you want to return an unwanted Christmas present this year you need to ask yourself four questions about the unwanted gift:

  1. Have I got a receipt or proof of purchase?

The most basic obligation when it comes to returning goods is for the consumer to prove they purchased the goods. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean you have to produce the actual receipt. A bank or credit card statement or other proof of purchase will also suffice. During the festive period the most common form of proof of purchase will be a gift receipt, which is a receipt without the purchase price displayed.

  1. Where was the gift purchased?

If you have a gift receipt it will obviously be easy t o ascertain where the gift was purchased, if not you will need to ask your bearer of your gift. If the gift was purchased online, you will have the legal right to return the gift within 14 days of the date the goods were delivered by the retailer. If the gift was purchased in a shop, you will need to find out if the retailer has special Christmas return rights (many do) as the legal position is that you have no right to return goods purchased in-store just because you’ve changed your mind.

  1. Is the packaging in tact?

When you return a gift (or any goods), that is not faulty, the general rule is that the goods must be in a saleable condition. This means the trader should be able to immediately re-sell the goods without the need to replace the packaging. So, if you damage the packaging whilst tearing off the wrapping paper the retailer will have the right to say no to a return.

  1. Is the gift in pristine condition?

If you return a gift simply because you do not like it or it is not suitable (for example if the size is wrong) the retailer will have no obligation to accept the return if the goods i) are not in pristine condition; or ii) have been used more than simply to ‘try out’ the goods.

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