Monday 19 November 2018

Unwanted or faulty Christmas presents? Find out your next steps

Some of us were delighted with what we found under the tree on Christmas morning. Others, however, may have been disappointed.

So it’s not unusual for people to start off the New Year looking to return or exchange their gifts.

We spoke to Áine Carroll, Director of Communications and Market Insights at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) about what to do when it comes to unwanted or faulty Christmas presents.


Returning unwanted Christmas gifts

By law, you’re not entitled to a refund or exchange just because you don’t like what you were given, but many shops will exchange your gift, or perhaps give you a refund, if you have proof of purchase, depending on their policy. It might seem a bit cheeky to ask the giver for a receipt, but you will usually need to prove that the gift was bought in the shop.

If you return an item after Christmas, be aware that January is a sale period and many shops change their returns policy if an item is on sale when you bring it back. They may give you a refund or a credit note, but they may only do so for the sale price and not the original price paid for the item. They are within their rights to do this.

Returning a faulty Christmas gift

If something you received is faulty, the person who bought it is entitled to a repair, a replacement of the same value or a refund of the price they paid, depending on the fault. As the contract is between the person who paid for the item and the seller, if you don’t have a gift receipt, you may need to ask them to take the present back for you or to give you the receipt. You should check to see if the item comes with a guarantee or warranty and what the terms are. Using the guarantee or warranty may be your best option if you don’t have a receipt. If an item is faulty, you are entitled to a replacement, repair or refund of the price paid – and it doesn’t matter if the item is now on sale at a lower price.

Your rights in the sales

Whether you buy something in a sale or not, your consumer rights are exactly the same as if you bought the item at any other time of year. So if you buy something and it’s faulty, it doesn’t matter that it was on sale, you are entitled to bring it back and get it repaired or replaced, or to get a full refund of the original amount you paid. One thing to watch out for is that many shops change their returns policy when an item is on sale, and they may not accept returns of sale items if you change your mind. So, if you are buying something that’s on sale, and you think you may want to return it, ask what the policy is.


For more information on returns visit



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