Guidelines on Returning Christmas Gifts

28 December 2010, 06:00

Now that Christmas is over, many people across Norfolk and Suffolk will be looking to return unwanted presents.

Heart recently spoke to Ann Jackson from Norfolk Trading Standards about returning gifts ordered online, but she's now advising shoppers about returning presents to high street shops:

"We all get a present that you've already got, it doesn't fit you or you just don't like it - it can be difficult to return them. We do have some problems with the wrapping on CDs and DVDs so if you do think someone in the family has bought one please don't open that wrapping as it is one of the things they are pretty strict about. Leave them wrapped for a while until you can find out if you have got another one.

Legally, goods can only be returned if they fit one of three criteria from the Sale of Goods Act:

"If there's a fault on something, that's the main reason why we take something back. The Sales of Goods Act also says goods should be as described, if people haven't had the goods described to them, or they're not that well described on the packet they haven't got what they thought they were getting. There's also another criteria that's not used very often in that if we made it clear to the person we're buying off that we wanted it for a particular function, i.e. if we wanted boots in the snow and got shoes to go dancing in instead - that's not fit for purpose."

However, 'Gift Receipts' do provide an exception:

"Most of our large chains of stores are now giving what is called a 'Gift Receipt' - try and keep that if you can so that it can be returned with the gift. Most of them don't have the price on and they will automatically give back the price that was paid. If you do take your goods back and find they've been reduced in price you should, of course, get the full money back that was paid.

It's really a bit extra, a good will - the icing on the cake. It just means you can take it back if you don't like the present."

Certain shops can sometimes cause problems, Ann explains:

"Smaller retailers cannot always afford to carry this extra goodwill issue so please make that clear with them.

Also, some years we do have temporary shops in the area, I haven't noticed so many this year but sometimes that can be a little tricky if you want to take something back there. If we see a temporary shop we try to get get whoever has the lease to put in contact details after Christmas, so we have tried to trace round these shops in the county."

Click to link to hear more of Ann's advice.