Here's how to get a refund on unwanted Christmas presents - even without a receipt

By Helen Johnson
Thursday, 26th December 2019, 10:37 am
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 10:38 am
High street shops don't have to accept returns on unwanted Christmas gifts unless the item is faulty (Photo: Shutterstock)
High street shops don't have to accept returns on unwanted Christmas gifts unless the item is faulty (Photo: Shutterstock)

With Christmas now over, shops across the UK are like to see an influx of customers returning or exchanging unwanted presents.

Here’s everything you need to know about returning gifts after the Christmas period - and what your rights are if you don’t have a receipt.

Can I return unwanted Christmas gifts?

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    Consumer group Which? explains that "many of us are surprised to find out that high street shops don't have to accept returns unless an item is faulty, not as described or is unfit for purpose.

    “The good news is that most retailers choose to provide a 'goodwill' returns policy, especially at Christmas, offering an exchange, refund or credit note for most returns.

    “And if your gift was bought online, over the phone or by mail order, you have additional rights to return it under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.”

    Although retailers don't have to accept returns on unwanted gifts, most choose to provide a 'goodwill' returns policy (Photo: Shutterstock)

    What if I don’t have a receipt? explains that if you don't have a receipt and the item you're returning isn't faulty, it's definitely worth trying to get the original receipt from the person who purchased the gift.

    "Some shops may allow you to return items without one, but it depends on the individual store's returns policy."

    If the gift is faulty, however, you don't need a receipt.

    Instead, "you simply need to show 'proof of purchase', e.g a cheque book stub, bank statement or credit card statement.”

    Which? comments that “if you receive an item as a gift, you'll need proof of purchase, and to know the date the gift was ordered if it was bought online.

    “The best way to do this is with a gift receipt. If you weren’t given one with your gift, you’ll need to ask for the receipt from person who bought it for you.

    “If it was bought online, you may need to ask the person who bought it for you to return it as there are special regulations that apply to online purchases.

    “Most retailers impose time limits for returning non-faulty products, such as 28 days, but many extend their returns policies around Christmas, so you might have more time than you think."

    If a present was bought on a credit card, the buyer has extra protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, notes Which?.

    Are there items I can’t return?

    Which? advises that there are some returns exceptions that it’s worth knowing about, including:

    DVDs, music and computer software. Many retailers refuse returns if the seal or packaging has been brokenPerishable items. You won't usually be able to return an item if it's perishable. This includes food and flowersMade to order. If an item has been made to order or personalised it's very unlikely that you'll be able to return its