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How long do I have to return a faulty gift?

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Katie Tizzard

Katie Tizzard is a Litigation Executive in the Dispute Resolution Department and can be contacted on or 01323 434416

Faulty goods and returns: What are my rights when returning faulty Christmas gifts?

It can be disappointing to discover that a Christmas gift is faulty, but fortunately, you do have certain rights when it comes to returning gifts that do not function as they should. You may also be able to return gifts that you simply did not want or do not need. However, your rights differ if the product is in good working condition. In this post, we look at your rights when returning both faulty and unwanted Christmas gifts.

Can I return a faulty Christmas gift?

If a gift you have received turns out to be faulty, you have certain rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Under the Act, you have a right to return a defective item and receive a refund.

30-day right to return

Where you return faulty goods within 30 days of receiving them from the vendor, you have a right to a refund - regardless of what the store policy says.

After 30 days

If the fault only becomes apparent after 30 days, but within the first six months of having the product, you must allow the vendor to repair or replace the product. If the repair is not successful or they cannot offer you a suitable replacement, you then have a right to a refund.

After six months

After six months of being in possession of the product, you must be able to prove that the fault existed when you purchased the product in order to return it. 

Can I return unwanted Christmas gifts?

There are many reasons as to why you may wish to return a Christmas gift, but you do not have guaranteed rights in law to return an item unless it is faulty. Most stores have returns policies which will allow you to return unwanted goods within a certain timeframe, allowing you to obtain an exchange, credit note or refund. This is, however, a discretionary policy and not a legal right. You will normally need a valid receipt proving purchase, the credit or debit card used to buy the product and the original packaging.

Can I return items bought online?

You have extended rights when an item was bought online, over the phone or by mail order.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations

Under these regulations, you have a right to cancel. This gives you 14 days from the day the goods arrived to change your mind about the purchase. If you return the goods within this time frame, you are legally entitled to a full refund. Remember, the 14-day period will run from when the person who gifted you the goods received them.

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