Advice on unwanted gifts

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WE all get things for Christmas that we don’t particularly want and would like to return to the retailer for a refund or exchange.

The Sale of Goods Act does not provide an automatic legal right to return the item if you decide you do not like it, you bought the wrong size or is just an unwanted gift.

However, some retailers provide an exchange policy in addition to your statutory rights and provide gift receipts, which are especially useful this time of year. However it is important that you check the shop’s returns policy before you buy a present for someone. The back of your receipts will often clarify any such policies which are over and above your statutory rights.

It is worth checking such policies with staff before buying gifts, which may turn out to be unwanted.

It is also worth explaining to the shop that the item you are buying is intended as a Christmas present and letting the retailer write the name of the intended recipient on the receipt as this transfers the return rights to the recipient.

Alternatively, try and obtain a gift receipt that doesn’t reveal how much you’ve spent on the item but still allows the person you bought it for to return it.

Again it is worth noting whether the gift receipt provides for refunds or only exchanges, and proof of purchase is vital in case the person you bought the present for wants to return it.

But be aware that in the period between Christmas and New Year, some retailers do not cater for returns.