How to return Christmas presents

When opening your presents, you’ll know what you asked Father Christmas for and hope you get your wish. However, sometimes you don’t get quite what you asked for. Whether it’s a shirt that’s a size too small, dress the wrong colour or maybe a gadget that seems completely random and you’ll never find a use for.

There’s no doubt at some point in our lives we’ll receive a gift from someone that’s less than ideal and returning it normally seems near impossible. Without having the receipt available and not knowing where it is to be returned to it can be difficult to know what to do.

Christmas gift

Can I return a present I don’t want if I have a gift receipt?

When returning a purchased item, Return Rights generally covers the person who has purchased the item to return it and not the person who has received it as a gift. 

Although gift receipts aren’t specifically covered by consumer law in the UK it’s generally known if a company or store is willing to print gift receipt, they’re more likely to allow you to return the gift. This may be for an exchange for another item of the same value. Alternatively, if in perfect condition, the gift may be fully refunded. 

Companies may follow their own policies and may differ between them. For example, Marks and Spencer will allow you a 35-day returning period under their Goodwill Policy. In order to have a full refund, you’ll be required to have the item unused as well as valid proof of purchase.

Christmas Gift Box

The present was bought online, can I still return it?

With the growth of online marketplaces like Amazon many people are finding it easier to complete their shopping lists in one full sweep. With so many different companies using these marketplaces for their sales it can become difficult to track whether you can return unwanted gifts. 

For the person giving the gift, they have more rights when it comes to returns. If unhappy with what they are giving they have 14 days to notify the seller they will be returning the gift back. They’ll then be entitled to a full refund. There’s then a further 14 days to send your present back in order to get the refund.

Sadly, if you’re the recipient of the gift and you want to return it then sadly you won’t have as much luck. If you receive the gift after the 14-day period, then there isn’t a way to return and refund the present. If the gift was bought in the online store and you want to return it to a physical one, then you’ll have to read up on their returns policy. 

For example, if you were to return something back to M&S then even presented with a gift receipt you won’t be entitled to a refund. Instead, you’ll most likely have to settle for an exchange of an item of the same value.

Christmas presents

I don’t have a receipt can I still return it?

If you weren’t given a gift receipt when given the present and there’s nothing wrong with the gift, then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to return it so simply. If you’re able to prove that it’s from a specific shop such as a Topshop branded coat, then depending on their policy you may be able to exchange it for something else. 

This does all depend on the individual company’s policy. We’d advise asking the person who purchased the gift for the receipt of purchase to help complete the process

If the gift is faulty then you shouldn’t require a receipt. All you need is proof of purchase such as a bank statement in order to get it replaced or refunded.

What if the gift is faulty?

If your gift is faulty or damaged then you have 30 days from the date purchased in order to take it back. You can either, replace it, refund it or exchange it. If it’s after the 30-day mark, then the store is still obliged to repair or replace the broken gift in the first instance. If you have the gift receipt and the gift is faulty then you are entitled to the same treatment as if you were the purchaser.