The average person spends £1,000 more at Christmas than any other time of the year.  The majority of that sum going on gifts for family and friends and more increasingly this is being done online (particularly since this pesky Covid-19 arose).

  • So how protected are you?
  • What are your rights to return if you’re not satisfied?

What about if you bought online? 

Online purchases are increasingly popular nowadays, ordering Christmas gifts from the comfort of your sofa in your pjs has become the norm.  Purchasing online comes with further consumer protection than in store. Stores do not have any obligation to offer refunds or exchanges on anything unless they are faulty, although the majority do.

Under the Consumers Right Act 2015, online purchases gives you the following rights:

  • You can cancel your purchase within 14 days after receiving the goods and receive a full refund (including postage in certain circumstances) simply because you have changed your mind. The cost of returning the goods may however be on you and the goods must be in the same condition as they were when delivered.
  • Whatever you have bought online must be delivered within 30 days unless otherwise agreed at the time of purchase.
  • You can also cancel and receive a full refund in the event the retailer agreed to have your items with you by Christmas and failed to do so.

What are my rights with faulty goods?

Regardless on whether the goods were purchased online or in a shop, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as Consumers we have certain rights.

Goods must be as described

If you are buying a product online or have asked for a particular colour, material or finish you would hope that the product you receive matches that description! The goods you receive must match any description given to you, or even any samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

Goods must be fit for purpose

There are two sides to this, what the product is usually used for, and what you specifically wish to use the product for. For example, if you were buying a basic phone it would be reasonable to expect the product to make and receive phone calls, therefore if it did not, it would not be fit for purpose and the seller would be in breach. If you wanted to use the phone to take photos, and the product does not have this feature the seller would not be in breach unless of course you specifically told the seller that you wanted to use it to take photos.

Goods must be of satisfactory quality and last a reasonable length of time

Goods should not be faulty or damaged when you receive them (unless they were described that way at the point of sale). What is considered satisfactory is potentially dependant on the price of the goods in question. For example, you would expect a £100 pair of shoes to last longer than a £10 pair.

If any of the above has not been adhered to and you are unhappy with the goods you have several remedies that can be relied on.

  • Right to reject – you have 30 days to notify the seller of your plan to reject any goods that beach the above. (Digital and downloadable content and perishable goods are different). You must make the goods available to the seller, and they must process your refund within 14 days. This right is limited to 30 days from the date you take ownership of the goods. After 30 days, you will not be legally entitled to a full refund if your item develops a fault, but then the below applies.

If you are outside the 30-day right to reject but within the first 6 months, you must give the seller the opportunity to repair or replace the goods should they develop a fault.  In the first 6 months, it is presumed that the goods were faulty at the time of purchase and it is up to the retailer to prove that it wasn’t. If the fault has developed after the first 6 months the burden is on you to prove that the goods were faulty at the time of purchase, not always an easy thing to do.

It might be an idea to request a gift receipt at the time of purchase enabling the gift recipient to an exchange should they decide they don’t want the gift you got them (how ungrateful huh!).   This can be particularly useful when purchasing goods such as clothes, where you might purchase the wrong colour or size!  A gift receipt acts as a proof of purchase without the need for your loved ones finding out the cost, protecting them further should the item develop a fault or be incorrect.

Many major retailers tend to extend their returns policy, allowing extra time for you to return unwanted gifts.  However, this is not actually a legal obligation and is done purely out of the goodness of their hearts.  Be sure to double check whether an extension applies to any gifts from the shop first!

Happy Christmas shopping !!!

But… remember, there is no automatic right to return your products to a shop if it is an unwanted gift. You should check the shop’s policy on returning Christmas gifts before you make a purchase.

Merry Christmas all xxx