A recent study by Moneysupermarket.com found that Christmas shopping can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels in almost 50% of shoppers. Coupled with the fact that returns of some products can double in January it’s easy to see why some people find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit! With that in mind we’ve put together a quick guide so you can be sure you know your rights before you hit the shops.
1. You don’t have an automatic right to return non-faulty gifts bought on the high street.
Many of us are surprised to hear that companies don’t have to accept the return of an item unless it’s faulty. Luckily most retailers choose to provide a ‘goodwill’ returns policy at Christmas, offering an exchange, refund or credit note for most returns and remember if a company has their own returns policy, they have to honour it.
2. Act fast to return faulty goods.
Under the Consumer Rights Act you have an early right to reject goods that are unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described and get a full refund. However it is important to remember that this right is limited to 30 days from the date of purchase so don’t be leaving your bags hidden on top of the wardrobe for weeks on end! You can also ask the retailer to repair or replace your item within six months of purchase.
3. ‘On sale’ doesn’t mean second-rate.
Even if the item’s second-hand or reduced, it doesn’t mean you get reduced consumer rights, except where the seller pointed out the specific problems before you bought. The same consumer rights rules apply to sale goods from shops. They must be of satisfactory quality and, if they’re faulty, you can return them. If, however, the only problem is that you have changed your mind, or you bought the wrong size, you have no right to return it at all – so bear in mind what might fit after 3 Christmas dinners and 6 turkey curries!
4. Extra consumer rights when you shop online.
There are special laws and regulations that give you extra protection when you shop online. These are called the Consumer Contracts Regulations. For example you can cancel your order for goods bought online anytime from the moment you place your order up to 14 days after you receive it – so if you’re having second thoughts about that sequin dog collar you bought after a few sherries, don’t worry!
5. eBay is not the same as an online store.
It instead acts as a marketplace where you can buy goods from both individuals and online traders. It’s always worth looking at the seller rating and feedback to see what others have said about their experience with the seller. Your rights on eBay vary depending on whether you buy from an individual or a business, and depending on whether you win a successful bid or use the ‘Buy Now’ option.