Avoiding unwanted gifts and hassle


The Consumer Council is providing some timely advice on returning unwanted gifts received this Christmas.

Consumer Council provides advice on returning unwanted gifts.

Philippa McKeown-Brown, Head of Consumer Skills explains “Sometimes we are given a Christmas present, which either we already have, isn’t suitable or we simply won’t use. In these cases we are often left wondering what to do so we have provided a useful checklist on returning unwanted gifts.”

Returning unwanted gifts checklist:

Check the retailer’s refund policy. By law, a retailer doesn’t have to do anything at all if there’s nothing wrong with the item other than that you don’t want it, but many stores will offer gestures of goodwill in terms of an exchange or credit note.

Most online orders are subject to a 14 day cooling-off period where you can change your mind and get a full refund but some exceptions apply.

If the item was bought by debit or credit card, and you haven’t been given a gift receipt, the cardholder will need to be present to enable the refund to go back on their card.

You will probably be asked for proof of purchase. The best way to do this is to have the receipt, or a gift receipt. However, if the item was bought by card then a bank statement will also act as proof.

If you’re at all unsure about a present you’ve been given, don’t throw away the packaging or remove labels because it may look as if you’ve used the item.

Not all goods can be returned, for example CDs, DVDs and games which have had the seal broken or goods that have been personalised e.g. engraved with your name or perishable items like a food hamper.

If you receive a gift which is faulty, not fit for purpose or of unsatisfactory quality, you should contact the person who gave you the gift as they have 30 days to reject the item and return it for a refund.

The Consumer Council has produced handy information guides including ‘Your Guide to Shopping Safely Online’, ‘Safer Ways to Pay’ and ‘Returning Gifts Factsheet’.

These can downloaded at www.consumercouncil.org.uk or to request a free copy call 0800 121 6022 or email info@consumercouncil.org.uk. You can also get in touch with us on facebook and twitter.